Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Remarks by Congressman Tom McClintock Regarding the Resolution Holding William Barr in Contempt of Congress

May 8, 2019

Remarks by Congressman Tom McClintock Regarding the Resolution Holding William Barr in Contempt of Congress
House Judiciary Committee
May 8, 2019

Mr. Chairman:

The subpoena issued by this committee puts the Attorney General in a legal Catch-22: To comply with the subpoena, he must break the law.  If he obeys the law, he must disobey the subpoena.  

Every person on this committee knows that the law forbids release of grand jury testimony.  Congress is the law-making branch.  If the committee feels it is so important to see the grand jury testimony, it can change the law.  But it cannot order the highest-ranking law enforcement official in our country to break the law to please the whims of the majority.

The American people can plainly see what is going on here.  For two and a half years, they have been force-fed a brazen and monstrous lie: that the President of the United States is a traitor who is loyal to a hostile power.  

Robert Mueller was given extraordinary powers to investigate this.  He appointed one of the most partisan and biased team of investigators that has ever been assembled to substantiate these charges.  They spent 22 months and $25 million in direct and component costs doing so.  They employed some of the most abusive tactics – among them perjury traps, pre-dawn raids and threatening family members – in order to turn up some shred of evidence to confirm this narrative.  The Trump administration gave them every document they requested and even waived attorney client privilege to make the President’s personal attorney available for 30 hours of testimony.  Though the President had the clear constitutional authority to terminate or interfere with the investigation, he did not.

And after all that, they were forced to admit that there is not a shred of evidence to support this lie.  We are learning it was predicated on a fake dossier fabricated by the Clinton campaign and was used by high-ranking officials at the Department of Justice, the F.B.I., our Intelligence Agencies and perhaps even at the White House, first to influence the outcome of our election and after failing that, to undermine the duly elected President of the United States and to tear this country apart.

Now that this lie is laid bare for all to see, the left had to think up a new lie and think it up quick.  Thus, in a heartbeat the lie changed from “collusion” to “obstruction:” that even though the Administration did nothing to interfere with or impede the investigation, the President is guilty of obstruction just because he complained about the injustice of it behind closed doors in words that amounted to no action whatsoever.  They know this lie will not hold up to scrutiny either.  So, what to do?

The answer to that question is before us today.  Even though there is no legal requirement for the Mueller report to be released publicly, the Attorney General has released it with the sole exception of material he is legally forbidden to release – amounting to less than ten percent of the document.  He has offered the chairman and ranking member of this committee to review the 99 percent of the document pertaining to obstruction that the law allows him to share in a classified setting.

So instead of reviewing that information, or changing the law to allow for its public release, they order the Attorney General to do what they know he legally cannot do and then charge cover-up.  They imply the smoking gun is in the six lines in over 182 pages that cannot be released, safe in the knowledge they won’t be called out on it.  And they hope that will be enough of a smokescreen to cover the perversion of our justice and intelligence agencies for political purposes under the Obama administration.

One other point.  Last week, this committee’s Democrats voted to change the rules of this committee to allow members to hide behind committee counsel to challenge the Attorney General.  Mr. Chairman, we don’t hire people to speak for us on the House floor and we shouldn’t hire people to speak for us in committee.  Only members of the House should speak in House proceedings.  There’s a reason for that.  We’re responsible and accountable for what we say in this public forum.  Hired help isn’t.  The only rightful exception is when we sit as a tribunal – an impeachment – because then we are sitting as a jury to hear evidence.  Any exceptions to this makes a mockery of a representative democracy based on the direct accountability that representatives of the people must have to those who elected them.

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Remarks as prepared.