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House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., is pushing ahead with his planned contempt vote against Attorney General William Barr simply because he wants to “subpoena everything that moves,” according to Republican Rep. Doug Collins.
Appearing on “America’s Newsroom,” Collins, R-Ga., told hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith, “We’re seeing a chairman who frankly has shown, in five and a half months, he really doesn’t know what he wants.
“Except that, frankly, he wants to subpoena everything that moves. He wants to go to contempt and now he’s come back after holding someone in contempt –think about what’s happening here — you have a chairman who held somebody in contempt on false grounds and now he’s saying ‘I’m open to negotiate.’ He knows he can’t win in court; that’s what this is all about.”
This accusation is coming just hours after the Department of Justice slammed House Democrats for planning the vote and charged that they had privately admitted their subpoena requests were “overbroad.”
DOJ REVEALS DEMS ACKNOWLEDGED BARR SUBPOENA WAS ‘OVERBROAD’; NADLER FIRES BACK, OFFERS TO MEET ‘WITHOUT CONDITIONS’
On Tuesday morning, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd penned a letter blasting Nadler and House Democrats for announcing they would vote next week on whether to hold Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt.
Boyd called on the House Judiciary Committee to “moot” its May 8 vote to hold Barr in contempt, but said they were “prepared to resume negotiations with the committee regarding accommodation of its narrowed Subpoena” — as long as Democrats removed the “threat of an imminent vote by the House of Representatives to hold the attorney general in contempt.”
In response, late that night, Nadler announced he was open to negotiating with the DOJ “without conditions,” sending Republicans and DOJ spokesmen into a frenzy.
“We are here and ready to negotiate as early as tomorrow morning,” he wrote.
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However, Nadler has refused to cancel the proposed vote prior to beginning any new negotiations, but also criticized what he deemed DOJ “brinkmanship.” He blamed the DOJ for stemming any negotiations in early May.
In a reactionary statement, Collins highlighted the DOJ’s revelation that Nadler apparently signaled a willingness to work with the DOJ: “After racing to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt, Chairman Nadler finally seems ready to join the Justice Department at the negotiating table,” he said.
“When Judiciary Democrats wield subpoena power like a sword instead of a plow, their investigations bear little fruit. The House Intelligence Committee has shown us that working with the Justice Department in good faith yields documents. Abusing subpoena and contempt authority, however, has left the Judiciary Committee with little to show for its obsessively unreasonable demands.”
On Wednesday, Collins echoed those sentiments, accusing Nadler of not have a “legitimate legislative purpose” in which to base his vote: “A legitimate legislative purpose is not presidential harassment on an issue in which Mueller has spoken. It is a purpose in which he just simply wants to get it out there to appear he’s trying to impeach.”
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“How can you have a contempt for making the Attorney General follow the law? This is nothing but a circus and the chairman…I’m not sure where he wants to go next except he’s feeding a base that is pushing him,” said.
A vote of contempt against Barr would be historic, but not unprecedented. In 2012, the Republican-controlled House’s voted to hold former Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to comply with investigations into the Obama administration’s failed gun-running sting operation, “Fast and Furious.”
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The resolution scheduled for a June 11 floor vote and would allow the Judiciary Committee to pursue civil action to seek enforcement of its subpoenas in federal court.
“The chairman’s not negotiating. He’s coming back with the same tired talking points that he’s said before,” lamented Collins.
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