An expected House of Representatives vote on a contempt resolution against Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas has been averted by an agreement with the Department of Justice Monday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler has announced.

The Democratically controlled House had requested an unredacted copy of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report into interference in the 2016 presidential election by Russian operatives, and possible obstruction by the Trump White House. Barr had steadfastly refused, but that stance changed in a last minute agreement with the DOJ to avert a full House vote on a contempt resolution scheduled for Tuesday.

"I am pleased to announce that the Department of Justice has agreed to begin complying with out committee's subpoena by opening Robert Mueller's most important files to us," Nadler said in a statement.

"Given our conversations with the Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now," the statement continued.

 

 

It is unclear how the arrangement with DOJ will affect action against McGahn. The former White House counsel also had been subpoenaed in regard to allegations the president asked him to fire Mueller during his investigation, and later to cover up the presidential request. McGahn left the White House shortly after the alleged requests, and while sources say he may have broken with the president, he remains a loyal Republican and has taken the position he retains a duty to Trump.

House Democrats were expected to support the contempt resolution while the Republican minority likely would oppose. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Nadler and other congressional leaders have argued the Mueller investigation not only uncovered questionable activity but also criminal activity, involving alleged obstruction of justice by the president and his inner circle through efforts to limit the Mueller probe.

Pelosi has said the administration’s refusal to cooperate with Congress may be an “impeachable offense,” although there is no consensus among House Democrats regarding next steps, and the release of documents may help to determine how Congress will proceed.

 

 

Based on what information already is known, about 60 House members, including one Republican, have publicly called for the start of impeachment proceedings, and Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., all candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, have said the same while campaigning across the nation.

The change of heart by the DOJ averts a course of action involving litigation against the Attorney General to compel him to provide the requested documents. That effort could have drawn out the process by several years. The last time an Attorney General, Eric Holder, was summoned to court during the first term of the Obama administration, litigation of one form or another continued until as recently as last month. Holder was cleared of any wrongdoing during that process.