Although there are a few deeply optimistic voices in Washington who believe that William Barr, Trump’s new Attorney General, will be a throwback to a time when Republicans cared about the rule of law — Barr, after all, served honorably as GHW Bush’s Attorney General decades ago — not everyone has quite as sunny an outlook on what Barr’s plans might be in the service of Trump when it comes to releasing the final report from Robert Mueller’s special counsel to the public.
Congressman Jerry Nadler, the Democratic Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has already vowed to fight the Justice Department by issuing a subpoena for the Mueller report, should Barr and the DOJ refuse to release it in its entirety.
Now the DOJ is confirmed to be facing the same threat in the Senate, as an appearance by Senator Richard Blumenthal on CNN’s New Day indicated on Thursday morning. Asked what might happen if Barr were to submit a “thumbnail sketch” of the report to Congress, Blumenthal did not mince words:
There’ll be subpoenas from Congress, including, I hope, from the Senate Judiciary Committee where I sit. But there will also be a public perception of cover-up. Because if William Barr believes, I think he does, that a sitting President can’t be indicted — I disagree with him — and he brings no charges that Mueller says can’t be brought, and if there are no public disclosures, the public will rightly feel that there is a cover-up.”
Blumenthal went on to list the ways that Congress and the DOJ might joust over whether or not the report is made public but kept coming back to the theme that at this point, two years into the investigation, if it wraps up and the public is given nothing for their patience, the backlash would be earth-shattering.
He has to make a decision: Is he going to be the people’s lawyer, or is he going to be the President’s lawyer? Clearly this President regards the Attorney General as one of his minions. He has no respect for the rule of law, in fact utter contempt for judges and the judicial process, and he has denounced relentlessly and unstentingly the FBI and other law enforcement. Absolutely unprecedented.”
Watch the exchange here:
Featured image via screen capture