/House Intelligence Committee likely to add second contempt citation for William Barr next week

House Intelligence Committee likely to add second contempt citation for William Barr next week

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17:  House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) stands next to a photograph of President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol May 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. House Democrats have introduced legislation to create an outside, independent commission to investigate possible connections between President Donald Trump and Russian officials. If Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) does not support the legislation then Democrats said they will file a discharge petition to force a vote on the measure.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The House Judiciary Committee has already issued a recommendation that Attorney General William Barr be held in contempt for failing to hand over the complete, unredacted Mueller report and supporting materials. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t brought that recommendation before the whole House, but the word from insiders is that the intention is to wait until there’s a “package” of items to be delivered. And it looks like the second item in the package could be on the way, as House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff has set next week as the deadline for action on that committee’s subpoena for the report.

The delay may be frustrating, but with both subpoenas moving forward on the same item—the unredacted special counsel report and related documents—it makes sense that the House would push through any related citations at the same time. That way, when they inevitably end up in court, the two can be handled together. 

But it isn’t quite inevitable yet that Schiff will be bringing down the gavel on contempt next week. On Wednesday, one of Barr’s assistants sent Schiff a letter offering to allow committee members to see a “less redacted version” of the Mueller report and to request “12 specific documents.”

Schiff did not take that deal. Instead, on Thursday he dispatched another letter to Barr noting that the committee has “no choice but to initiate action next week to enforce the subpoena.” 

There is still the chance that Barr will come up with a deal that is acceptable. There’s an even better chance that he will continue to throw out deals that aren’t acceptable, but which could lead to delays as Schiff makes it clear he’s not the one cutting off negotiations.