The Democrat-led House of Representatives is expected to vote today, June 11, on a resolution to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas.
UPDATE: Late yesterday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) announced that he plans to hit pause on efforts to hold AG William Barr in contempt of Congress. That announcement came after the DOJ agreed to turn over key evidence from the Mueller report. (More details)
The measure introduced last week in the House Rules Committee, which includes efforts to punish former White House counsel Don McGahn, would authorize House lawyers to seek enforcement of the subpoenas in court.
Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation says the House has the legal right to proceed but calls the effort unjustified and unfair.
"Don McGahn is not testifying because the president has asserted executive privilege,” he tells OneNewsNow. “That is something that is within the constitutional authority of the president. It's been recognized by the Supreme Court. And so, in essence, they want to hold Dan McGahn in contempt for the president exercising his constitutional authority."
When it comes to Attorney General Barr, Democrats are threatening to hold him in contempt because they claim he hasn't given them all they want with regard to the citizenship question being added back to the census.
Spakovsky, a former DOJ attorney, says that demand is “completely unfair” because the Justice Department claims it has already handed over 17,000 pages of documents.
"It's basically the Justice Department's analysis of the lawsuits filed against the administration over the citizenship question,” he explains, “and that's covered by attorney-client privilege."
That case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
House Republicans failed to take action in 2012 after they held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. Asked if that matters today, Spakovsky points out it has been more than 100 years since the House attempted to arrest someone held in contempt.
“I think it would damage them greatly politically if they actually tried to arrest the attorney general of the United States,” he says of Democrats, “and hold him in the House, particularly when they actually have no justification for even holding him in contempt in the first place."
All things considered, Spakovsky says Democratic lawmakers have succumbed to “Trump Derangement Syndrome” regardless of the circumstances.
“Even if it's on issues where previously they supported that particular position, they're against it,” he observes. “And I think that's one of the reasons they've come after Barr so hard, and because they're trying to fool the American people into thinking there's some kind of cover-up going, because their Russian election collusion claim turned out to be a hoax.”