Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may not be interested in holding the White House accountable, but it is imperative that Congress do so. Not only is it not time to “move beyond” the damning findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, it is time for the White House to begin complying with all requests from Congress – as the U.S. Constitution requires of a coequal branch of government.
The House Judiciary Committee is on the verge of holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for his continued refusal to release the full unredacted Special Counsel’s report. It is not up to the William Barr, or any other member of the Trump Administration, to decide what they will and will not release to Congress. Unfortunately, Barr’s behavior is part of a disturbing pattern of Trump Administration officials attempting to defy Congressional requests for information and witness testimony. If the pattern continues Congress must not hesitate to exercise its constitutional powers and hold Administration officials and others in contempt.
Without any legal justification, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has refused House Ways and Means Committee requests for President Trump’s tax returns, former White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline has refused to testify publicly regarding matters of national security related to irregularities in the granting of top security clearances, President Trump is trying to prevent former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying about matters related obstruction outlined in the Mueller report, and the Administration is four months late providing a legally-required report to the House Foreign Affairs and Financial Services Committees on the U.S. government’s efforts to impose sanctions on human rights abusers in Russia.
The House is now taking steps to conduct oversight of an Administration embroiled in controversies and conflicts of interest since President Trump took office. This oversight is long overdue after two years in which Congress ignored that responsibility despite a host of red flags. President Trump may not like it, but congressional oversight of the executive branch is enshrined in the United States Constitution.