Politics & Policy

Progressive Groups Call to Impeach AG Barr in Effort to Delay Supreme Court Confirmation

U.S. Attorney General William Barr discusses a Trump administration executive order in Washington, D.C., June 11, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

More than 20 progressive groups signed a letter Tuesday urging House Democrats to impeach Attorney General Bill Barr in an attempt to delay Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation vote until after the November 3 election.

In a letter addressed to House speaker Nancy Pelosi, groups including Demand Progress, Our Revolution, and the Sunrise Movement outlined a list of what they consider impeachable offenses by the attorney general.

The letter reads:

Dozens of members of your caucus and various outside groups have for months urged an inquiry into Barr’s impeachment on any of several grounds. They include: misleading Congress with respect to the Mueller investigation and other matters; overruling career prosecutors for political purposes, such as helping the president’s allies; sanctioning investigations into the president’s political rivals; supporting the use of federal troops against protestors in support of racial justice while standing aside for armed right-wing protestors; prohibiting the referral of an Intelligence Community whistleblower complaint to Congress; and failing to comply with subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives while ordering others to not comply with subpoenas from the House of Representatives.

The letter claims Barr has “made a career out of undermining our democracy” and accuses the attorney general of “ramping up efforts to undermine the upcoming elections and invalidate the votes of millions of Americans.”

Instead the group suggests that House Democrats serve as a roadblock to both Barr and the Senate’s confirmation of Barrett, which is expected next week, by impeaching Barr and forcing action in the Senate, delaying the confirmation process.

“Should you impeach Attorney General Barr prior to October 23rd, the Senate would be required to take one of two actions. On one hand, the Senate would be obligated to hold a trial, which would occupy a day or more of floor time and delay the hasty and irregular consideration of Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court associate justice,” the groups explained. “In the alternative, Senate Republican leadership would be forced to go ‘nuclear’ by changing the rules that govern how that chamber responds to receiving articles of impeachment from the House of Representatives.”

“Either outcome is desirable,” the groups concluded.

Democrats have fought hard against Barrett’s confirmation, accusing Republicans of being hypocritical in going back on the standard they set in 2016 by refusing to consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, months ahead of an election. 

With a Republican majority in the Senate, Democrats have had no recourse for stopping or delaying Barrett’s confirmation. However, many in the party have called on Democrats to add additional seats to the Supreme Court in retaliation if Barrett is confirmed. 

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