House Intelligence Committee likely to add second contempt citation for William Barr next week

BipHoo Company / Flickr Adam Schiff There is x27 ample...
BipHoo Company / Flickr

The House Judiciary Committee has already issued a recommendation that Attorney General William Barr be held in contempt for failing to hand over the complete, unredacted Mueller report and supporting materials. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t brought that recommendation before the whole House, but the word from insiders is that the intention is to wait until there’s a “package” of items to be delivered. And it looks like the second item in the package could be on the way, as House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff has set next week as the deadline for action on that committee’s subpoena for the report.

The delay may be frustrating, but with both subpoenas moving forward on the same item—the unredacted special counsel report and related documents—it makes sense that the House would push through any related citations at the same time. That way, when they inevitably end up in court, the two can be handled together.

But it isn’t quite inevitable yet that Schiff will be bringing down the gavel on contempt next week. On Wednesday, one of Barr’s assistants sent Schiff a letter offering to allow committee members to see a “less redacted version” of the Mueller report and to request “12 specific documents.”

Schiff did not take that deal. Instead, on Thursday he dispatched another letter to Barr noting that the committee has “no choice but to initiate action next week to enforce the subpoena.”

There is still the chance that Barr will come up with a deal that is acceptable. There’s an even better chance that he will continue to throw out deals that aren’t acceptable, but which could lead to delays as Schiff makes it clear he’s not the one cutting off negotiations.

Still, it seems entirely likely that next week the House Intelligence Committee will move forward. Even then, it could be another week before there is second committee vote on contempt, and another week before that recommendation goes to the House floor.

And even if that’s it, and Speaker Pelosi’s idea of a package is just these two items … don’t be shocked if an actual citation of contempt doesn’t get an up-down vote before the full House for a month.

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