House Democrats and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday de-escalated tensions in Washington for the first time in months by striking a deal…
House Democrats and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday de-escalated tensions in Washington for the first time in months by striking a deal that will provide lawmakers with critical documents underlying special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s election interference.
The agreement marks a rare case of cooperation between Democrats, who are pursuing investigations into whether President Trump obstructed Mueller’s probe, and an administration that’s largely rejected congressional requests for information and witness testimony.
The breakthrough also seems to have defused — at least temporarily — a push by Democrats to punish key administration officials for their refusal to cooperate in the congressional probes.
The House Judiciary Committee last month had voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with the panel’s subpoena for Mueller’s full unredacted report and underlying documents.
But Democrats are now opting to bring to the floor a softer resolution, one that grants the Judiciary panel new legal tools to obtain disputed information and stops short of holding any individuals in criminal contempt.
« Given our conversations with the Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now, » Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N. Y.) said Monday in a statement announcing the deal. « We have agreed to allow the Department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement.”
« If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything that we need, » he added, « then there will be no need to take further steps. »
The agreement constitutes a victory for Nadler, who’s come under friendly fire from some Democrats for his handling of the Judiciary panel’s examination of Mueller’s findings, particularly the open question — left unanswered by Mueller in his 448-page report — of whether Trump obstructed justice during the course of the 22-month probe. Nadler is leading the negotiations to have the reluctant Mueller appear publicly before the committee, and some lawmakers are frustrated that the Judiciary chairman hasn’t secured the testimony nearly two months after Mueller’s report was released.

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