House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tore into House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Thursday, questioning his ability to “handle the gavel” -- a day after Democrats voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress.
“If you listen to it, the question continues to be raised that Nadler can’t even handle the gavel,” McCarthy told reporters. “Not only how he dealt with the last committee hearing, it comes into doubt regardless of what the issue is, whether he’s capable of being chairman.”
McCarthy’s comments come a day after Nadler led the charge to hold Barr in contempt for not giving lawmakers the full, unredacted Mueller report and the underlying evidence. Nadler branded the fight a “constitutional crisis.”
The Trump administration dismissed Nadler’s actions as “inappropriate political theatrics” and Trump responded to the push by asserting executive privilege in a bid to keep the files from being released.
"Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.
Barr had refused to appear for a scheduled hearing before the committee last week after Democrats demanded that staff question him instead of lawmakers. Nadler said the use of executive privilege was a sign that the administration does not respect congressional oversight.
“By invoking executive privilege on all of our materials that are subject to subpoena, the process has come to a screeching halt,” Nadler said. “The administration has announced loud and clear that it does not recognize Congress as a co-equal branch of government with independent constitutional oversight authority and it will continue to wage its campaign of obstruction.”
Republicans on the committee were enraged by Nadler’s actions, calling it a push by Democrats unhappy at Mueller’s report.
“I think it’s all about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous he’s going to get to the bottom of everything,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said. “He’s going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place.”
On Thursday, McCarthy accused Nadler of wanting “impeachment without saying the word” and blasted “his lack of ability to handle even the most basic motions, from whether there’s a quorum, whether it’s a privileged motion or not, his lack of knowledge of that.”
"He has a plan of what he wants to do to the president, and he doesn't even have the ability of knowledge to make it work,” he said.
He also hit Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee for issuing a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr., in regards to Trump Jr.'s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017.
“I believe Donald Trump Jr. has already testified for hours, more than 20 hours. I believe it’s time to move on,” McCarthy said. “I think they have it wrong.”