/House Intel postpones possible contempt vote against Barr

House Intel postpones possible contempt vote against Barr

Adam Schiff

Chairman Adam Schiff said the Justice Department has been cooperating with the Intelligence Committee’s requests for access to the special counsel’s files. | Mario Tama/Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee has postponed a potential vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, citing efforts by the Justice Department to comply with their demand for access to special counsel Robert Mueller’s files.

“The Department of Justice has accepted our offer of a first step towards compliance with our subpoena, and this week will begin turning over to the Committee twelve categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials as part of an initial rolling production,” committee chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement Wednesday. “That initial production should be completed by the end of next week.”

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The cooperation puts on hold what could have been a second contempt vote against Barr. The House Judiciary Committee took the rare step earlier this month when Barr refused to turn over Mueller’s unredacted report and underlying evidence.

Schiff has sought several categories of information contained in Mueller’s evidence that pertain to the Intelligence Committee’s jurisdiction over counterintelligence and national security matters. He emphasized that the subpoena he issued for the documents could be enforced at any time if he feels the Justice Department falls short of its cooperation.

The rare breakthrough cuts against an increasingly confrontational relationship between the Democratic House and the Trump administration. President Donald Trump has worked to block witnesses and documents from reaching the Judiciary Committee, which is investigating potential obstruction of justice and abuses of power by Trump.

The deal with the Justice Department and Intelligence Committee includes an offer to allow all committee members access to a less redacted version of Mueller’s report. So far, only 12 lawmakers in the House and Senate have been granted access and all six Democrats have refused to view it, demanding greater access for their colleagues.

The DOJ’s offer, which Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd again offered Tuesday in a letter to Schiff, triples the number of lawmakers allowed to view the “minimally redacted” version of the report to 34.

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