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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/2/19

Congress Should Be Ready To Arrest Attorney General William Barr If He Defies Subpoena

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From Newsweek

AG William Barr testifies on Mueller report before Senate Judiciary Committee.
AG William Barr testifies on Mueller report before Senate Judiciary Committee.
(Image by YouTube, Channel: CBS News)
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On Sunday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee threatened to subpoena Attorney General William P. Barr if he refuses to testify this week about the Mueller report.

But a subpoena is unlikely to elicit Barr's cooperation. "We're fighting all the subpoenas," says the President of the United States.

In other words, there is to be no congressional oversight of this administration: No questioning the Attorney General about the Mueller Report. No questioning a Trump adviser about immigration policy.

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No questioning a former White House security director about issuances of security clearances. No questioning anyone about presidential tax returns.

Such a blanket edict fits a dictator of a banana republic, not the president of a constitutional republic founded on separation of powers.

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If Congress cannot question the people who are making policy, or obtain critical documents, Congress cannot function as a coequal branch of government.

If Congress cannot get information about the executive branch, there is no longer any separation of powers, as sanctified in the US constitution.

There is only one power -- the power of the president to rule as he wishes. Which is what Donald Trump has sought all along.

The only relevant question is how stop this dictatorial move.

Presidents before Trump occasionally have argued that complying with a particular subpoena for a particular person or document would infringe upon confidential deliberations within the executive branch.

But no president before Trump has used "executive privilege" as a blanket refusal to cooperate.

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"If Mr. Barr does not show up," the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Sunday, "we will have to use whatever means we can to enforce the subpoena."

What could the Committee do? Hold Barr in contempt of Congress -- under Congress's inherent power to get the information it needs to carry out its constitutional duties. Congress cannot function without this power.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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Congress Should Be Ready To Arrest Attorney General William Barr If He Defies Subpoena

But won't.

Submitted on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 4:28:18 PM

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