Bill Barr 'tried to play us for fools' with request to drop contempt hearing: Judiciary chairman
Attorney General Bill Barr during his press conference the day of the Mueller report release. Image via screengrab.

House Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has rejected an offer by the Justice Department to release a limited portion of documents they have sought by subpoena, in return for suspending a vote next Tuesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt.

On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Nadler clarified to Blitzer that he would theoretically be willing to make a deal, or even drop the contempt charges, but that the administration hasn't made them a serious offer and is playing political games.

"You've rejected an offer, I understand, from the Justice Department to drop the contempt resolution against the Attorney General, William Barr, in exchange for additional documents from the Mueller report," said Blitzer. "But in a letter to the Justice Department, you also say you're still willing to negotiate. Can you share with us what you're willing to negotiate, some of your terms?"

"I'm not going to get into specifics," said Nadler. "The May 24th letter that we sent in was very specific about our last offer. But the fact of the matter is that the — that they have tried to play us for fools and we're not fools."

"We've been through this story before. We make a good faith offer, they make a bad faith offer, which doesn't move at all or moves very little. And then they — and then this goes on, back and forth for weeks. And then the night before that, [ex-White House Counsel Don] McGahn is supposed to appear at the hearing, they say he won't appear. The night before, after 10:00. And now they say they'll be able to reopen the negotiations that they broke off if we will drop the contempt."

"Let them give us a good faith offer and maybe we won't need the contempt," said Nadler. "But I don't believe they will do that." He added that he is "almost definitely sure" that House Democrats will move ahead with the contempt vote.

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