Congressional Democrats are ratcheting up their attacks on Attorney General Bill Barr over the firing of SDNY prosecutor Geoffrey Berman last week.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) even went so far as to announce that if Barr ignores the subpoena to testify before the committee, Congressional Democrats could remove Barr’s entire office budget.
Democrats have been desperate to indict Barr on any charges they can possibly trump up, and Democrat leaders clearly believe that the firing of Berman could be the key to finally getting rid of Barr.
Berman was fired over the weekend at the request of Barr, sparking outcry due to the fact that Berman was reportedly investigating Trump and his prominent allies. Nadler immediately announced his intention of launching an investigation into the event only hours after it happened.
Though Barr explicitly clarified that Berman’s deputy will take over Berman’s position and investigations until an official replacement is confirmed by the Senate, Democrats have still chosen to promote the narrative that Barr and Trump fired Berman so they could suppress Berman’s investigations.
According to an Axios report, Nalder is preparing a subpoena for Barr to testify about the firing of Berman next week. Nadler confirmed the report while appearing on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Monday.
Maddow asked Nadler about how Congress will handle a potential scenario in which Barr refuses to comply with the subpoena, to which Nadler replied:
Well, we don’t know that. Subpoenas are supposed to be respected, obviously, but the corruption of the Attorney General Barr may lead him to try to defy it. Let me say we have other remedies too, to try to force the attorney general. We can eliminate his office budget. There are a number of things we can do, which we will do.
Maddow attempted to clarify what Nadler meant by threatening Barr’s “office budget,” asking: “His office budget, like his paper clips budget? Or does he have some sort of large discretionary amount of funding that you could cut off? What do you mean by his office budget?”
Nadler replied, “We are talking about the budget in the Department of Justice.”
The wheels are turning
Several prominent Democrats have hinted at the possibility of impeaching Barr over the Berman scuffle, with Nadler himself saying on Sunday that Barr “deserves” to be impeached, though the chairman did admit that it would be a “waste of time” due to the Republican majority in the Senate.
“I don’t think calls for [Barr’s] impeachment are premature, any more than calls for the president’s impeachment were premature,” Nadler told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“But they are a waste of time at this point because we know that we have a corrupt Republican majority in the Senate which will not consider an impeachment no matter what the evidence and no matter what the facts … So we’re instead going to do what we have to do without that, including barring $50 million from his own personal budget.”