Ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia Thursday accused House Democrats of taking “our power of subpoena and contempt” and making a “mockery of it,” after the committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and underlying documents related to the investigation.
“They’re trying to paint Bill Barr as someone bad because they don’t like the results of the Mueller report,” Collins said on “America’s Newsroom.”
President Trump asserted executive privilege on Wednesday to protect the redacted information and underlying evidence from being released to Congress, firing up Democratic congressional leaders who disagreed with his move.
"We cannot have a government where all the information is in the executive branch — where the American people and the Congress are stonewalled as to information that they need to make decisions and to know what's going on," House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. said Wednesday.
Collins hit back at Nadler and his Democratic colleagues for opting not to view the less-redacted version of the Mueller report, which was offered to them by Barr, while goading the attorney general via subpoena to make the full report available to Congress.
“What is also disturbing is that the chairman of the committee, who has access to go see the even less redacted report, which is 99 percent less redacted, has [chosen] not even to do that, to not even take an accommodation that he’s been offered,” Collins said.
“We did not relish doing this, but we have no choice,” Nadler said after the vote on Wednesday. "We’ve talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis. We are now in it."
“There’s no constitutional crisis here except the one that the chairman is creating on his own by rushing something forward that undercuts the oversight authority of us,” Collins responded on Thursday.
“The curtain was pulled back when Hank Johnson from Georgia basically said two things,” Collins said. “Number one, he said, how can you impeach if we don’t get the documents? That shows their true intent and then number two, he said we can’t wait 400 days. That tells me that this is all about rushing to a judgment because they are desperate to paint the president as done something wrong and the way they do that is by painting the attorney general who delivered Bob Mueller’s message, that there was no collusion and no charged obstruction, they’re painting him as bad.”
Democrats have maintained that they want access to the unredacted report to corroborate testimonies by Don McGahn, former White House counsel to Trump, and other witnesses to the FBI and the special counsel in case they are called to testify about the investigation and are not necessarily moving forward with impeachment against Trump.
Collins also disputed the notion that Mueller will testify in front of Congress on May 15, saying that he believes “it’s a flat out no” that Mueller will make an appearance.