Throughout the ongoing battle between the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee and Attorney General William Barr over the Mueller report, Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano initially seemed to come down strongly on the side of the former.
But, as Democrats have ramped up their rhetoric — threatening the arrest of Barr, pledging to hold him in contempt and demanding a completely unredacted report — Napolitano now says the issues should instead be decided by the courts.
Let the courts sort it out
Napolitano was asked about the current impasse between Barr and the committee on Tuesday during an appearance on Fox & Friends in which he said, “When two branches of government disagree who resolves it? The other branch. There is a very easy way out of this.”
“The House Judiciary Committee serves a subpoena on the attorney general. He believes the laws, which he has sworn to uphold, prevent him from complying with it completely as they want him to. You take this subpoena, you make a motion to quash it — that is, to suppress it — and a judge calls it and then you follow what the judge’s ruling is,” he explained.
“If you don’t like the judge’s ruling? You appeal it. Will this make its way to the Supreme Court? I doubt it, but it could,” Napolitano continued.
“The judiciary is the branch that decides what the law means, what the constitution means and how it should be interpreted, rather than these threats about locking up the attorney general — that’s absurd,” he added.
Contempt vote a “footnote in history”
Napolitano was asked what might happen if Barr was held in contempt by Congress and if Democrats would actually attempt to arrest Barr to compel his compliance with their demands.
In response, Napolitano downplayed the potential impact of such moves.
As to being held in contempt, Napolitano said, “Holding someone in contempt is a footnote in history … In some states, it could impair your ability to practice law. I doubt that [Barr] is worried about that.”
“But they shouldn’t use contempt as a political weapon. They should only use it when someone is truly defying them. So, when the law says do this, and the subpoena says do that, and this and that are the opposite,
The judge noted that, by law, certain portions of the Mueller report are prohibited from being released by statute, and expressed his surprise that Barr’s Justice Department hadn’t already gone to a judge for a ruling to quash the committee’s subpoena which demands the release of information Congress knows is supposed to remain redacted.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, as the DOJ and White House have thus far resisted the absurd demands for impossible and illegal compliance about the Mueller report by an equally intransigent and dissatisfied Democrat-controlled committee.