The House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, escalating the legal battle with the Trump administration over access to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
Watch the full hearing and vote in the player above.
The committee voted 24-16 to hold Barr in contempt after the Justice Department rejected House Democrats’ demands for the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence. Ahead of the vote, President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege over those materials and reserved the right to block them.
The contempt resolution against Barr now moves to the full House. If it is approved, it would trigger a criminal referral to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, which would decide whether to prosecute.
Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the panel had to act because Trump’s stonewalling is creating a “constitutional crisis.”
On Tuesday, a former White House lawyer defied a congressional subpoena, setting the Trump administration on course for another collision with the Democratic-led House over its pursuit of documents related to the Russia investigation.
Don McGahn’s refusal to provide the documents to the House Judiciary Committee came at the instruction of the White House, which suggested they could be subject to executive privilege. Such a claim can shield some presidential material from disclosure.
Trump has defied requests from House Democrats since the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report last month. Republicans have largely united behind the president, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday declaring “case closed” on Mueller’s Russia probe and potential obstruction by Trump. McConnell said Democrats are “grieving” the result.