Neither the Trump regime nor House Democrats were bluffing today when it came to carrying out their threatened actions this week on the impeachment front, as the House Judiciary Committee voted 24-10 to hold AG Bill Barr in contempt of Congress, and the Trump regime asserted executive privilege over the unredacted Mueller report.
President Donald Trump has asserted executive privilege over special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as the House Judiciary Committee prepares to vote to hold his attorney general, William Barr, in contempt of Congress.
Faced with "blatant abuse of power" by Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the president "has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege," the White House said Wednesday.
The committee vote and Trump's assertion of privilege represents a major escalation of the battle between congressional Democrats and the president. It will likely lead to a protracted legal war over Mueller’s 448-page report on alleged obstruction of justice by Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
The Justice Department had told lawmakers Tuesday ahead of the session that it would recommend that Trump assert executive privilege to that material.
Members of the Judiciary Committee were expected to spend the Wednesday markup discussing the resolution to hold Barr in contempt, as well as a supporting 27-page report in which Democrats raised the prospect of impeachment as a result of their investigation relating to the Mueller probe.
In his opening remarks, Nadler said it was "not a step we take lightly," but rather the "culmination of nearly three months of requests, discussions and negotiations with the Department of Justice."
"In response to our latest good-faith offer, the Department abruptly announced that if we move forward today, it would ask President Trump to invoke what it refers to as a protective assertion of executive privilege on all of the materials subject to our subpoena. Just minutes ago, it took that dramatic step," Nadler continued.
"Let me be clear: The information we are requesting is entirely within our legal rights to receive and is no different from what has been provided to Congress on numerous occasions, going back nearly a century," he added.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the committee, said in his opening statement that Democrats on the committee were rushing the oversight process because they are "angry" that "the special counsel's report did not produce the material or conclusions they expected to pave their path to impeaching the president" — sullying Barr's reputation in the process.
"I ask you to recognize that craven and insincere politics yield anemic dividends for Americans who have asked us to legislate," Collins said. "As I have told you on multiple occasions and proved at last week’s pharmaceuticals markup, I stand ready to work with you to promote solutions. I will not, though, become a bystander as you assail the attorney general and this committee. Our democracy deserves better."
Once the Judiciary Committee signs off on the contempt resolution, it will go to a vote in the full House. The timing of that vote would be up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Pelosi, for her part, says Trump is becoming "self-impeachable". Whatever that means.
“The point is that every single day, whether it’s obstruction, obstruction, obstruction — obstruction of having people come to the table with facts, ignoring subpoenas . . . every single day, the president is making a case — he’s becoming self-impeachable, in terms of some of the things that he is doing,” Pelosi said at a Washington Post Live event.
I agree with Greg Sargent. The only Democrat right now really taking Trump's impeachment seriously as a necessary duty to preserve the republic is Elizabeth Warren.
Is President Trump an aberration whose defeat in 2020 would allow the nation to begin rebounding toward normalcy? Or does his ascendance reflect long-running national pathologies and deeply ingrained structural economic and political problems that will intractably endure long after he’s gone?
The answer to this question — which has been thrust to the forefront by the Democratic presidential primaries — is, in a sense, both. Trump represents both a continuation of and a dramatic exacerbation of those long running pathologies and problems.
As of now, Elizabeth Warren appears to be the Democratic candidate who most fully grasps the need to take both of those aspects of the Trump threat seriously. The Massachusetts senator is, I think, offering what amounts to the most fully rounded and multidimensional response to that threat.
In recent days, Warren has addressed the deeper issues raised by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report — and the reaction to it from Trump and Republicans — in by far the most comprehensive way.
In an important moment on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Warren took strong issue with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s profoundly cynical effort to treat this all as a closed matter. “Case closed,” McConnell said, speaking not just about Mueller’s extensive findings of likely criminal obstruction of justice by Trump but also about Trump’s eagerness to reap gain from Russia’s sabotage of our elections, which McConnell blamed on Barack Obama.
In response, Warren again called for an impeachment inquiry, but she did more than that: She indicted the Republican Party as a whole for shrugging off Trump’s epic misconduct and wrongdoing.
Warren has also pointed out more forcefully than any rival has that Trump tried to derail an investigation not just into his own campaign’s conduct, but also into the Russian attack on our democracy — which Trump has refused to acknowledge happened at all, hamstringing preparations for the next attack.
It is this dereliction of duty on Trump's part that poses the most serious threat.
Unfortunately, America just doesn't give a damn.
There's been a lot of bandwidth devoted to the Mueller Report.— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 7, 2019
The public mostly accepts the Democrats' conclusions, i.e. that Trump hasn't been honest, probably obstructed, probably committed crimes.
It doesn't think that warrants impeachment, though.https://t.co/yOWmcscfey https://t.co/cvM24aJNco
Contrast that, by the way, to the stories that have gotten the most news coverage, which of course includes Russia at/near the top. The idea that Democrats haven't done enough to focus the public's attention on Russia seems really wrong to me. https://t.co/jUXbPoAZsG pic.twitter.com/AgzdIJobhR— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 8, 2019
A grand total of zero respondents said it was the most important issue to their 2020 vote when CNN asked two months ago.— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) May 8, 2019
Liz Warren is "out of touch" for wanting to save the country and the country just doesn't want to deal with it. Period. Maybe that changes, but that's apparently up to Democrats to convince America that's the case and despite the massive coverage of it, the country literally could not care less about it.
That's where we are right now. We were told Hillary didn't make the case she was going to be better than Trump in 2016. Now we're being told Democrats haven't made the case for impeachment in 2019.
All evidence points to 2020's election being far too late.