House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say we are now in a “constitutional crisis” because Attorney General William Barr declined to comply with a Judiciary Committee subpoena for the unredacted Mueller Report and underlying materials based on President Trump’s assertion of executive privilege. The Judiciary Committee responded by recommending, with a party-line vote, that Barr be held in contempt.
The Democrats’ pronouncement comes amidst other disputes between the executive and legislative Branches: Barr’s no-show at a Judiciary Committee hearing; the Treasury Department’s refusal to provide the House Ways & Means Committee with Trump’s business and personal tax information; and the unresolved effort by the House Intelligence Committee to get the full Mueller Report, ostensibly for counterintelligence purposes.
To be sure, tensions between Congress and the administration have been ramped up. And it’s unusual for an administration official to be held in contempt of Congress, but it’s not unprecedented or cause for alarm.
It is definitely not a constitutional crisis.