May 09, 2019
What a difference seven years makes. In 2012, Democrats were appalled that anyone would hold the attorney general of the United States in contempt. Now, one administration and a new House majority later, liberals will look for any excuse to punish the head of the Justice Department -- even if the reason is following the law.
"Just joined the #walkout of the House chamber to protest the shameful, politically-motivated GOP vote holding AG [Eric] Holder in contempt," Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) tweeted in 2012. Fast-forward to his own Judiciary Committee meeting, and the New York liberal is leading the charge! Like every other extremist in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) party, he's desperately trying to get the upper hand after a two-year smear campaign over collusion that had no basis in fact. Now, in a pathetic attempt to make some of their accusations against the president stick, they're demanding an unredacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report from Attorney General William Barr. And if they don't get it? Well, according to the Chicken Littles of the Left, we'll be plunged into a "constitutional crisis."
The spectacle at Wednesday's hearing wasn't lost on the liberal media either. While the rest of the country pleads with Democrats to move on from this humiliating ordeal, even commentators are saying they don't have the public's support to continue this charade. "The most straightforward procedural suggestion for addressing executive branch noncooperation is to subpoena documents and testimony and, if they aren't produced, hold the responsible individuals in contempt of Congress. This, it turns out, is not such a great idea," warns Suzanne Garment at NBC News.
For starters, Americans are tired of watching Democrats beat this dead horse of Russian collusion. Most of them want to know: when will this political circus end? Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) understands -- because he's one of them. I guess it ends, he told me on Wednesday's "Washington Watch," "when the Democrats a suffer at the ballot box because it doesn't look like anything short of that is gone to deter them. The Mueller report is out there for everybody to read. It's 448 pages. It finds that there was no conspiracy, there was no coordination, there was no collusion and there was no obstruction. And, and now Attorney General Barr has testified before multiple committees... And that's the end of it. And it's time now that the Democrats and moved on and we actually get to work with the business with the country."
But there's also the legal side of this, which is that Attorney General Barr cannot release grand jury material without being held personally responsible. There's intelligence information in that report, and there are matters of national security that prevent him from complying with the Democrats' request. House liberals know that -- and yet, they're trying to punish Barr for following the law (which, I might point out, is not why Eric Holder was held in contempt). And ironically, they don't need him to publicly release the unredacted report to read it. As members of Congress, they can go to a private, classified setting and access every word. Of course, there wouldn't be any television cameras in that room for Democrats to continue their theatrics.
And isn't that -- Senator Hawley asked -- what this is all about? "Democrats are grasping at any straw to keep the story alive. But the truth is... the longer they talk about this, the more obvious it becomes that they don't really care about the real needs in this country. What they're doing is grandstanding and playing -- which is exactly what they've been doing with Bill Barr and in this case, dragging the reputation of a good and honorable man through the mud."
We all saw how that turned out when the Senate Democrats tried it with Brett Kavanaugh. If the Left hasn't learned its lesson by now, maybe 2020 will teach them.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.