Update: Neal Katyal—again—called for the House to de-fund AG Barr’s salary and his office while he spoke with Stephanie Ruhle sitting in for Ari Melber on MSNBC. I hope eventually he expounds on this and what it would entail. Needless to say, it’s not a one-off. At the 2:48 mark, but watch the whole thing:
In the wayback machine in March, AG Bill Barr obfuscated and lied about releasing the full Mueller Report, so Neal Katyal, ex-Solicitor General, Top Litigator award winner, expert in Constitutional law, winner of the Edmund Randolph Award (DOJ’s highest award), legal scholar, law professor, author of the Special Counsel law, said this extraordinary thing:
De-funding the Attorney General of the United States is a legitimate and respectable tool Congress could use to at least curtail lawlessness on the part of the Attorney General and his office? Yes.
” [Taxpayers]...shouldn’t pay for...this lawlessness.” Indeed.
Despite inevitable caterwauling and wailings of “Partisanship! Cheaters!” by the GOP, Congress should absolutely set these gears in motion while they still can and educate the American people as to why.
1. Bill Barr lied, and continues to lie, about the Mueller Report. That much is clear now that it has been parsed through and reported on. Does he think Americans are stupid? Yes.
2. Bill Barr refuses to release the full, unreacted Mueller Report to the other equal branch of government—Congress—because he knows most Americans don’t realize that it is Constitutionally required.
March 24, 2019
By Neal K. Katyal
NYT: By unilaterally concluding that Mr. Trump did not obstruct justice, the attorney general has made it imperative that the public see the Mueller report.
3. Bill Barr is threatening to stonewall Congress yet again, by refusing to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee because he disagrees with their “format,” i.e., he does not want to be questioned by Democratic lawyers.
March 24, 2019
Link: Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal tells Katy Tur that he believes that there "has to be congressional testimony" by both Attorney General Barr and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, after AG Barr sent his summary of the Mueller report to congressional leaders.
The Guardian, April 28, 2019:
The Department of Justice (DoJ) has informed the powerful House of Representatives judiciary committee that attorney general William Barr may not attend a Thursday hearing to review special counsel Robert Mueller’s report of the Trump-Russia investigation.
Barr has expressed objections over the panel’s questioning format, according to a senior Democratic committee aide.
The department has balked at the panel’s plans to allow committee counsels from both sides to question Barr after the traditional round of questioning by members of Congress who sit on the committee, which is currently chaired by the Democrats because they control the House.
4. Trump, Barr, and former Acting AG Rod Rosenstein, are thumbing their noses at the People—Congress—in their quest to to seize power. If the House doesn’t act the AG Office/DOJ may start “investigating” members of Congress to delegitimize Congress even further:
Ben Wittes is the Editor in Chief of Lawfare, an excellent online news source for national security and other legal issues.
Congress must protect our democracy. De-fund the Attorney General and the AG Office until he complies with the Constitution and Congress.