Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, got into a sharp exchange with chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who pushed for a vote on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena to turn over an unredacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
Drawing attention to what prompted the appointment of a special counsel, which was former FBI director Jim Comey leaking private conversations with President Donald Trump to the media, Jordan read from a letter sent to the attorney general from White House special counsel Emmet Flood.
“That the head of our country’s top law enforcement agency [the FBI] has actually done so to the president of the United States should frighten every friend of individual liberty. Under our system of government, unelected executive branch officers and intelligence agency personnel are supposed to answer to the person elected by the people — the president — and not the other way around.”
“This is not a Democratic or a Republican issue; it is a matter of having a government responsible to the people, and, again, not the other way around. In the partisan commotion surrounding the released report, it would be well to remember that what can be done to a president can be done to any of us.”
“And this committee is supposed to look out for that fundamental fact more than anything else,” Jordan said afterward. “And we are not doing that today.”
Nadler cited his colleague from across the aisle as also wanting the information they are asking to be released.
“Consistent with the law,” Jordan was quick to interject — more than one member on the committee expressed concerns Barr was being asked to do something illegal.
“My understanding is Mr. Mueller is going to be here next week. Why are we doing … you’re going to actually get the guy who wrote the whole darn document, why don’t you hold off on this contempt vote until at least the guy who wrote the thing — spent 22 months and $35 million, with a whole bunch of Democrat lawyers putting it together — why don’t you wait and ask him next week before we do this contempt resolution?” Jordan told the chairman.
Caught somewhat caught off guard, Nadler stammered, “Well, essentially, because it would be useful to have the material before he is in front of us.”
Jordan said during a March appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that all documents related to Mueller’s investigation should be released if the special counsel’s report is released in full.
“If they do release everything, then by golly release it all,” Jordan said.
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