Speier: Trump ‘Has in Many Respects Become a Dictator’

• May 8, 2019 4:30 pm


Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) said that President Donald Trump is acting like a dictator toward Congress, and threatened to hold Attorney General William Barr in "inherent contempt" of Congress, during an Wednesday appearance on CNN's Right Now With Brianna Keiler.

Speier's comments came in response to a question about whether holding Barr in contempt of Congress would actually have an effect on the executive branch.

"There is no question that holding him in contempt will throw it to the courts, and we will have to hope that that will be expedited," Speier said. "Congress has the right to access the underlying documents of the Mueller Report: There is no question about that. I can't imagine a court ruling otherwise, but they are throwing every obstacle in our way because the president has, in many respects, become a dictator. He is trying to prevent Congress from doing its oversight function. And we won't accept that."

Speier added that holding Barr in "inherent contempt" will mean the House Oversight Committee can "call on the Sergeant of Arms to bring in Mr. Barr and have him appear before the full House, and then either he testifies or he is fined."

Keiler questioned Speier on whether or not that was actually a reasonable course of events.

"Do you really see that as happening?" she asked. "We talked with some legal experts who suggest that is not going to happen."

"Legally, we have the power to do that. We are using—" Speier said.

"Should Congress, should the House of Representatives do that?" Keiler asked.

"Well, I am one of those that believes we will not get the respect we deserve as a co-equal branch of government until we act a little more aggressively in asserting our authority which we have to access these documents. We have a right to know what the underlying documents have," Speier said. "We have a right to be able to access the tax returns of the president to determine whether or not his engagement with foreign countries is in part why he will not touch Putin and why he is willing to cozy up to him."

The House is expected to vote to hold Barr in contempt of Congress on Wednesday.