Trump invokes executive privilege over unredacted Mueller report, subpoenaed materials

09 May, 2019, 02:48 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • White House tells former counsel McGahn not to comply with subpoena

"Besides misapplying the doctrine of executive privilege, since the White House waived these privileges long ago and the (Justice) Department seemed open to sharing these materials with us just yesterday, this decision represents a clear escalation in the Trump administration's blanket defiance of Congress's constitutionally mandated duties", Mr Nadler said.

Barr did not comply with a subpoena of the full Mueller report and underlying with evidence issued by the House Judiciary Committee. Short of that, there are legal restrictions concerning how much of the report can be released to the public.

The battle over McGahn's documents and testimony is expected to be the next front in the ongoing war between the White House and House Democrats.

"Neither the White House nor Attorney General Barr will comply with Chairman Nadler's unlawful and reckless demands", she said in a statement. A tentative date of May 15th has been set for Mueller to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. "The Department's legal arguments are without credibility, merit, or legal or factual basis", Mr Nadler said.

During the Watergate investigation, President Richard Nixon tried to use executive privilege to block access to White House recordings - but the Supreme Court rejected the measure.

In an interview with CNN, Mr Nadler said Mr Trump "wants to make himself a king, and Congress can not permit that".

The Justice Department told Nadler on Wednesday that it is terminating all negotiations with the panel over access to the full and unredacted Mueller report.

The White House and Congress accused each other of abusing power.

In the report, Mueller said his prosecutors didn't uncover evidence of a criminal conspiracy but didn't exonerate Trump on obstruction, leaving the decision for Congress to decide because of Justice Department policy that a sitting president can not be indicted.

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In 2012, the GOP-controlled House voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents into the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-running sting operation.

The omission was noted in a statement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY, both Democrats.

Democrats in the Senate are crying foul over McConnell's remarks - saying the outcome of the Mueller investigation is anything but case-closed. "It's finally over", McConnell said in prepared remarks.

Barr last month released a 448-page redacted version of Mueller's report on his 22-month investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Former White House counsel Don McGahn could also face a contempt citation if he misses today's deadline to respond to the judiciary committee, CNN reported, citing an unnamed source.

"Every single day the president is making the case" and "he's becoming self-impeachable", Pelosi told the Washington Post shortly before Trump invoked executive privilege, referring to the impeachment process in Congress for removing a president from office. The top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said "Democrats have launched a proxy war smearing the attorney general" when their anger actually lies with the president.

Following an outcry in some quarters over Barr's use of the term "spying", reports emerged that an informant working for US intelligence posed as a Cambridge University research assistant in September 2016 to try to probe George Papadopoulos, then a Trump foreign policy adviser, on the campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation.

Barr has said he had no objection to letting Mueller testify before Congress about his investigation.

Sessions, who is entertaining the possibility of running once more for Senate in his home state of Alabama, praised William Barr, his successor at the Department of Justice, and portrayed the clash between the executive and legislative branches as nothing new.



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