House Democrats are "heading into a world of evil" if they escalate their struggle with attorney general secretary Bill Barr for access to the full Robert Mueller report, according to constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley.
Turley, a George Washington University law professor, issued the warning during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. As lawmakers grilled him and other legal scientists on issues related to executive privileges and congressional surveillance, Turley stated that while he generally tends to emphasize Congress's power, they will surely lose if they go to court to hold Barr in contempt for not releasing the entire Mueller report.
GOP's REP. BIGGS: THEM LAWMAKER "PLAYED THE PRAYER" AT THE SPECIAL MEASURES IN BARR CONTEMPT HEARING
"You're heading to a world of evil if you go to the DC circuit," Turley warned.
House Democrats recently voted at committee level to hold Barr contempt to refuse to release a completely unredacted version of the Mueller report and underlying material. Turley pointed out, as Barr has previously pointed out, that federal criminal law does not allow Barr to disclose the secret big jury information edited in the previously released version.
The DC circuit recently addressed this problem with regard to McKeever v. Barr that the Court, in addition to the particular exceptions set out in Rule 6 (e), is not authorized to order information on grand jury information. Since any legal action against Barr for contempt would likely end before the DC circuit, Turley made it clear that it is a bad idea for Congress to go down that road.
"There is no doubt that he cannot release this rule 6)," said Turley, and called Barr's position "inaccessible."
The professor said Congress could have greater luck in forcing witnesses to testify and acquire some of the underlying documents referred to in the Mueller report, but he still warned democrats about certain matters of executive privilege which President Trump has invoked in an attempt to keep the material secret.
TRUMP BLOCKS CONGRESS FROM FULL MUELLER REPORT
For example Warned the Turley Democrats not to challenge Trump's assertion of executive privilege on information shared with the Special Counsel's Office, which is part of the executive branch, saying that case law is strong on this issue.
"I urge strongly urge you not to make that argument in the federal court, "he said.
However, House Democrats have pushed and accused Trump-admin istration to prevent their efforts to learn more about Russia's investigation.
"We did not enjoy this, but we have no choice," said committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, DN.Y., after the vote earlier this month and added: "We have talked a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis. We are now in it. "