Rep. Doug Collins: Dems Using Contempt Citation to 'Discredit' Attorney General

By Susan Jones | May 6, 2019 | 5:58am EDT
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

( - The House Judiciary Committee announced on Monday that it will produce a contempt citation naming Attorney General William Barr when the committee convenes on Wednesday morning.

“Even in redacted form, the Special Counsel’s report offers disturbing evidence and analysis that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice at the highest levels," Chairman Nadler said in a statement.

"Congress must see the full report and underlying evidence to determine how to best move forward with oversight, legislation, and other constitutional responsibilities. The Attorney General’s failure to comply with our subpoena, after extensive accommodation efforts, leaves us no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings in order to enforce the subpoena and access the full, unredacted report.

"If the Department presents us with a good faith offer for access to the full report and the underlying evidence, I reserve the right to postpone these proceedings.”

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, says Nadler (D-N.Y.) is using the threat of a contempt citation as a "public show" to "discredit" Attorney General William Barr.

Collins told CBS's "Face the Nation" that he is one of the few Republicans who went to the Justice Department to read the less redacted (but not fully redacted) report that Barr made available to a limited number of congressional leaders.

Collins said Nadler could do the same thing, but instead, Nadler has chosen to threaten Barr with a contempt citation just 16 days after the Mueller report was released:

"My question to the chairman is, why doesn't he go down -- why doesn't he read what's already available? And then, if he wants more, then work with the Department Justice to figure this out, instead of having the public show of contempt and trying to discredit Bill Barr."

Collins said he's disappointed that Barr did not testify before the House Judiciary Committee last week. He blamed Democrats for discouraging Barr by insisting that he submit to questioning by staff attorneys as well as members of Congress.

Democrats wanted to bring in staff attorneys to "make it look like impeachment," Collins said.

Host Margaret Brennan noted that there are many congressional investigations focusing on President Trump, and "many subpoenas" have been issued to the administration.

"Is the refusal to comply worrisome to you, that this is setting a precedent that undermines the oversight capabilities and charge of Congress?" Brennan asked Collins"

"No it does not," he replied, "because it's happened with every administration.

“In fact, you know, during the Obama administration, there was a lot of pushback. There was always a slow-walk of -- of information requested, and sometimes a rescheduling of witnesses. This is something that goes on between the administration and the congressional branch at all times.

Now, I'm very much in favor of congressional oversight, no matter who's in the White House," Collins said. "And we have that proper role, but there is a give and take between the two.

"And I believe if -- especially in the regards of what we're seeing right now from my chairman, if the chairman would actually engage and then find a way to find accommodations, offer accommodations, do the things that have been done in the past historically, instead of rushing to do a contempt or rushing to a press release or rushing to make an assumption, then I think we could actually get to the oversight that we need to have on this."

In a letter to Barr on Friday, Nadler set a deadline of 9 a.m. this (Monday) morning for Barr to agree to the following:

-- Allow all members of Congress to view redacted portions of the Mueller report, except for grand jury material, in a secure location;

-- Have the Justice Department work jointly with Congress in seeking a court order to provide all grand jury material;

-- Produce all underlying documents and evidence the Mueller team used in formulating its report.

That deadline has now come and gone.

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