In a press conference today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told reporters Attorney General William Barr lied to Congress. She said that she “lost sleep” last night after watching the Attorney General, the top law enforcement official in our country, “misrepresenting, withholding the truth from the Congress of the United States” over and over again in his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
She called President Trump, William Barr, Mitch McConnell, and the Senate Republicans right wing ideological “handmaidens” for special interests before ticking off a list of bills that Mitch McConnell was going to kill. The Speaker pointed out that Barr’s motivation and loyalty was to the GOP special interests and not to his oath of office.
She further said, while Mueller’s letter and how Barr mischaracterized the letter were interesting, Wednesday’s hearing was deadly serious because “the Attorney General of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime”.
She added that if anybody else lied to Congress it would be “considered a crime”. The Speaker said, “Nobody is above the law, not the President of the United States and not the Attorney General. Being Attorney General does not give you a pass to go say whatever you want.”
Pelosi was asked about impeachment and she deferred to the judgement of the various committee heads guiding the process, saying, “they are trying to make accommodations in terms of receiving the unredacted Mueller report. Let them work their will and we will go to the next step.”
When asked about Trump administration officials ignoring subpoenas, Speaker Pelosi pointed out that Article 3 of the articles of impeachment for President Nixon was for ignoring congressional subpoenas. Five of the six committees with jurisdiction have issued or have the potential to issue subpoenas, Pelosi said, with only the Foreign Affairs Committee not having issued subpoenas yet.
Per CNN, Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the Oversight Committee, has issued a subpoena for financial records from Mazars USA, an accounting company which has worked for President Trump. Trump is suing Cummings, saying the House investigation is outside of Congress’ authority and has said his administration will fight “all subpoenas”. Both the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees have issued subpoenas for Deutsche Bank and Mazars to turn over records. The Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jerrold Nadler has issued subpoenas – for the unredacted Mueller report and for William Barr to testify. Both have been ignored.
While answering questions, Pelosi referred to House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler’s statement in the Thursday morning hearing which Attorney General Barr had been subpoenaed to attend and did not.
Nadler acknowledged the committee would have no choice but to move quickly to hold the Attorney General in contempt if he fails to negotiate in good faith in the next “couple of days”.
He concluded his statement by saying, “The Attorney General must make a choice. Everyone of us must make the same choice. That choice is now an obligation of our office. The choice is simple – we can stand up to this president in defense of the country and the Constitution and the liberty we love or we can let the moment pass us by. We have seen in other countries what happens when you allow such moments to pass by. I do not know what Attorney General Barr will choose. I do not know what my Republican colleagues will choose. But I am certain that there is no way forward for this country that does not include a reckoning with this clear and present danger to our Constitutional order. History will judge us for how we face this challenge. We will all be held accountable, one way or the other. And if he does not provide this committee with the information it demands and the respect it deserves, Mr. Barr’s moment of accountability will come soon enough.”