How different this is from the approach taken by Devin Nunes when the California Republican chaired the House Intelligence Committee. While Democrats haven’t even read the 98.5% of the Mueller report the attorney general has already provided, Mr. Nunes plainly wanted the information he demanded (e.g., the Carter Page warrants). Nothing Mr. Nunes asked for, moreover, was illegal for the Justice Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide, whereas Mr. Nadler’s whole aim was to set up a contempt finding by making Mr. Barr an offer he had to refuse.
Whatever else it may do, this won’t improve oversight. The immediate effect of the Democrats’ aggressive contempt strategy will be to make the executive branch more reluctant to cooperate. Then again, Democrats don’t really want cooperation or information; they want impeachment.
This puts Mrs. Pelosi in a fix. The day before the Barr contempt vote, she said Mr. Trump is “goading us to impeach him.” That’s almost certainly not true. No president, not even Mr. Trump, wants impeachment, a high-risk game he can’t be certain of winning.