Representative Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.), a long-shot contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, called on his colleagues Friday to impeach Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin over their refusal to comply with lawmakers’ subpoena-backed document demands.
“I’m for bringing Mueller in, getting the full Mueller report, impeaching Barr and Mnuchin to get the documents, being prepared for impeachment,” the California Democrat said on MSNBC’s Hardball. “But I recognize that the rule of law here is the most important thing we can protect. It’s very fragile. This is the most extreme remedy. So, first thing’s first: Let’s get rid of the first two obstructors in Barr and Mnuchin and then get the information. . .”
Mnuchin has refused to turn over President Trump’s income taxes on the grounds that Congress lacks a legitimate legislative purpose in demanding them. Barr, meanwhile, has refused to comply with House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler’s demand that he turn over the full, unredacted Mueller report and the evidence underlying it because to do so would violate federal statutes governing the release of classified information.
Echoing a now-familiar line of Democratic attack, Swalwell went on to accuse Barr of acting as the president’s defense attorney in his presentation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings. Swalwell and fellow Democrats have lambasted Barr for allegedly misrepresenting Mueller’s findings in the summary of Mueller’s report he delivered weeks before releasing the redacted report in its entirety.
At issue is Barr’s emphasizing the fact that Mueller failed to reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, a failure Democrats have argued — and Mueller’s Wednesday press conference seemed to confirm — was due strictly to existing guidance from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel that prohibits the indictment of a sitting president.
Barr, in an ABC News interview that aired Thursday evening, said he believed Mueller could have reached the conclusion that the president did not criminally obstruct justice based on the available evidence. He also reiterated a point he initially made during his congressional testimony earlier this month: Mueller’s team repeatedly told him that its decision not to reach a conclusion with respect to obstruction of justice was not due to the OLC guidance.