Pelosi says full House to vote on holding Barr in contempt "when we're ready"

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

Pelosi speaks on holding Barr in contempt

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the full House will vote on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress "when we're ready." Her comments come just one day after the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.

"When we're ready, we'll come to the floor. We'll see because there might be some other contempt of Congress issues that we want to deal with at the same time."

Pelosi said that the contempt vote was necessary, because the administration was refusing to cooperate with Congress. This week, the White House ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn not to comply with a congressional subpoena, and the president asserted privilege over the entire Mueller report and underlying documents on Wednesday.

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"Every day they are advertising their obstruction of justice by ignoring subpoenas," Pelosi said. "The administration has decided that they're not going to honor their oath of office."

The Trump administration doesn't believe that Congress has a right to see more of the Mueller report. "They're not entitled to see them," acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told CBS News' Major Garrett on "The Takeout" podcast this week. "The Mueller report was very lightly redacted in the first place." He added that "almost all" of the redactions were "related to ongoing investigations."

"So the stuff that Congress saw is the stuff that everybody who's got any sense about them knows needed by law to be redacted," Mulvaney said.

The resolution will next go to the floor for a full House vote. It is currently unclear when that will exactly take place but Pelosi said the House wants to take the vote "as soon as possible."

"This is very methodical, it's very Constitution-based, it's very law-based, it's factually based," Pelosi said about holding Barr in contempt, claiming that it was not a political measure.

Mulvaney argued that it's not Congress' role to "second-guess the Department of Justice" or "supplement their decision for the decision of the attorney general," he said. "They are not the executive branch of government. They are there to make law, and their oversight is supposed to be related to their process of making law, and that's not what happened – that's not what's happening right now."

The vote in the Judiciary Committee passed along party lines, 24-16, after six hours of contentious debate on the topic.

Democrats are adamant that Barr should turn over the entire unredacted Mueller report and any underlying materials, which the Justice Department has refused. The Department has offered to allow a few members of Congress to view a less redacted version of the report, under the condition that these members do not speak with their colleagues about the report.

Pelosi has said that she believes Barr should be held in contempt for defying a congressional subpoena to provide documents related to the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

"For the White House to be degrading the office the president holds, degrading the Constitution of the United States and degrading the first branch of government, the legislative branch, that's just not decent," Pelosi told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa in an interview Wednesday. She also did not rule out impeaching Barr.

Barr and Republicans in Congress have argued that he cannot legally provide information in the report related to grand jury material. Democrats say that they are not asking that Barr commit a crime by revealing grand jury material, only that they are asking for the Justice Department's assistance in court to get that material revealed.

First published on May 9, 2019 / 10:07 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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