Joe diGenova: Nadler’s trying to turn Congress into an oppo research shop for Dems -- That's the real 'crisis'

Contempt? Constitutional crisis? The only “crisis” happening in the Washington, D.C. swamp is that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is trying to turn Capitol Hill into an opposition-research shop for the Democratic Party.

Upset at Attorney General William Barr’s refusal to go along with his charade of a hearing after he insisted on both extra length and the ability for committee staff to ask questions, Nadler decided to outdo even his own penchant for political theatrics. Instead of hearing Barr’s testimony, he devoted a whole day of the committee’s precious time to slandering the attorney general.

Nadler was already preparing to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to meet the committee’s deadline for producing an unredacted version of the Mueller report, which Barr has repeatedly refused to do because it would require him to violate laws and regulations designed to safeguard sensitive information.

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After Nadler got his vote holding Barr in contempt, he put on a serious face and told reporters that “We are now in a constitutional crisis.”

Let’s make something absolutely clear. There is no crisis in Washington, constitutional or otherwise, apart from the Democrats’ increasing detachment from reality.

Declaring someone in contempt of Congress may technically be the Democrats’ prerogative as the majority party in the House, but while that decision is not challengeable, that doesn’t mean Nadler and his cronies aren’t in the wrong. As the aphorism goes, they’re entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.

The fact remains that the president’s assertion of executive privilege over the documents Nadler is demanding is entirely appropriate because this is exactly the sort of situation that executive privilege is designed to cover.

As my wife Victoria Toensing and I explained last month, Nadler is trying to twist and exploit the post-Watergate precedent to serve his needs. In reality, that precedent makes it clear that Nadler must have a legitimate legislative purpose for what he’s after, which he most certainly doesn’t.

As much as he would like to, Nadler is not leading a criminal investigation; he is leading a legislative hearing and a sham of one at that.

It’s worth noting that many of those who are now professing the righteousness of holding Barr in contempt most vehemently howled in outrage when Republicans did the same to Eric Holder when President Barack Obama asserted a much broader claim of executive privilege to withhold documents related to his Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” gun-running debacle – the one that led to the death of 40-year old Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Let’s make something absolutely clear. There is no crisis in Washington, constitutional or otherwise, apart from the Democrats’ increasing detachment from reality.

One central question remains here: What exactly are Nadler and the other Democrats even investigating?

Throughout his hearing, Nadler seemed to suggest he still thinks it’s Russia collusion. Nadler shied away from using that terminology, though, perhaps realizing how silly it sounds after the Mueller report explicitly stated that there was no collusion. Instead, he talked about Trump Campaign “links” with Russia as if this were still 2016 and we hadn’t just gone through two and a half years of investigating this liberal conspiracy theory that we now know was patently false.

The notion that the committee needs to investigate possible obstruction of justice is every bit as egregious since this too was investigated, and no charges were ever brought – not by Mueller, or Barr, or his deputy Rod Rosenstein.

There’s no legitimate legislative purpose that can be served by allowing Nadler and his fellow Democrats to see the eight percent of the Mueller report that was redacted for specific reasons that are demanded by laws, regulations, and the needs of the intelligence community. If there were, Nadler surely would not have passed up the opportunity to view a version of the report with most of the redactions removed, as Barr has graciously allowed him and other high-ranking lawmakers to do.

Attorney General Barr and the top prosecutors at the Justice Department have reviewed the findings of the Mueller report, and they concluded that none of the incidents the special counsel’s office extensively described constitute obstruction of justice.

Members of Congress have been able to review a lightly redacted version of the same report, and select committees have been invited to view the entire report minus the minuscule redactions for grand jury material that Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure prohibits Barr from releasing. That’s more than enough information to let them reach an informed conclusion.

If Democrats think the Justice Department is wrong, the Constitution provides a clear means of redress: impeachment, which of course they could never justify. Anything short of that, such as holding the Attorney General of the United States in contempt of Congress because he won’t play along with their partisan games, is a gross abuse of power.

The Democrats’ only real goal is to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency, an aim two of their most senior leaders made absolutely clear after the contempt vote. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that if his party does its job right, “Trump will not win the presidency, or he won’t last that long to even get there.” Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, joked about throwing Trump administration officials in jail.

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If there’s a “constitutional crisis,” this is it. One of the two major parties, which controls half of one of the three branches of the federal government, is ignoring its constitutional role and twisting congressional oversight into a political weapon.

The Democrats are perpetrating an assault on the U.S. Constitution, not enforcing it to serve the people who entrusted them with their power.

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