Attorney General William Barr has until Monday morning to follow House Democrats’ orders to reveal the redacted parts of the Mueller Report — or else.
But what “or else” entails remains an open question.
As Barr continues to balk at the subpoena issued by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) (near right), frustrated lawmakers are considering their options: they could censure Barr, take him to court, impeach him or even — in theory — order his arrest.
“We’re going to use every means at our disposal in order to do our jobs,” Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-Md.) told NPR.
A censure, or public reprimand, would be the first step of a potential criminal proceeding against Barr.
In 2012, the House voted to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt and sued to obtain documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal.
Dems including Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.) have called for impeachment proceedings against Barr, although removing him from office would require the Republican-majority Senate to go along.
Congress could also invoke its “inherent contempt” power and order the House’s sergeant at arms to place Barr under arrest. A congressional arrest has not been ordered since the 1930s, however, and would spark a blistering court battle. Democrats have shown little appetite for such a drastic, and improbable, measure.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has continued its own probes into elements of the Russia-collusion investigation.
An Inspector General report on abuses of the FISA system is expected in the next few weeks, and a review of the leak of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos is also in the offing.
Barr testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that he is reviewing FBI and Justice Department decisions regarding investigations into both Hillary Clinton and President Trump during the 2016 campaign.
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