What does a House committee do now? The committee voted to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over a complete document. The committee chairman is Jerry Nadler.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
JERRY NADLER: This was a very grave and momentous step that we were forced to take today to move a contempt citation against the attorney general of the United States. We did not relish doing this, but we have no choice.
INSKEEP: The Trump administration is claiming executive privilege and refusing the demand to turn over the complete report by Robert Mueller into Russia's election interference in 2016. So let's work through what could happen next. Jonathan Schaub worked in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department and is now assistant solicitor general in Tennessee and is following all this.
Good morning, sir.
JONATHAN SCHAUB: Good morning. Thanks for having me.
INSKEEP: So Chairman Nadler called this a constitutional crisis. Is it?
SCHAUB: It's not unprecedented. The same action — Attorney General Holder was held in contempt in the last Congress. So I don't know that I would call it a crisis, but it is certainly heading that way, it seems.
INSKEEP: We have two branches of government with opposite points of view. Suppose the full House follows up on the committee vote and holds William Barr in contempt as the representative of the Trump administration. How can the House enforce this, if at all?
SCHAUB: Well, it doesn't have a lot of good options, to be honest. The House has a power called inherent contempt, where it could actually send — it used to exercise it over a hundred years ago, where it would actually send the sergeant at arms to go arrest the individual who had it held in contempt. But it hasn't exercised that, and it's very unlikely that would happen here. Much more likely is that the House will file a civil lawsuit just like it did against Attorney General Holder.
The executive branch and Congress have long had very different constitutional views about their authority and very different — almost opposite in terms of who's got the authority to resist and what information has to be turned over. And the only branch that can really resolve it will be the judicial branch. They just haven't had the opportunity because the proceedings have taken so long, except in the Watergate case — in the Nixon case, where Supreme Court held that the president had to turn over the tapes.
That's really the only precedent. There's a couple other smaller cases, but that's the main one that still guides the branches today.
INSKEEP: I want to figure out, though, if something unusual is happening here. You noted that Attorney General Holder was held in contempt by the full House. You noted the case of Watergate. But is it true that, generally speaking, an administration answers the subpoenas of Congress and that it's rare that the administration would resist so many different demands, as this administration is doing?
SCHAUB: I think the — historically, what the practice has been — that the executive branch will turn over some information, not all, usually. And Congress will protect some of its confidentiality interests and things like classified information. So the two branches have really worked together to find a way to meet Congress's needs without exposing things that are sensitive material about criminal investigations or classified information.
So it would be unusual for an administration to say, we're not answering anything. And I think the administration — there's been some talk of that. There's also been some things that have been turned over, so it's not quite clear how far they're going to go there.
INSKEEP: So if they negotiate, we're still within normal civil bounds here.
SCHAUB: I think that's right.
INSKEEP: Mr. Schaub, thanks so much — really appreciate it.
SCHAUB: Thanks for having me.
INSKEEP: He is assistant solicitor general of the state of Tennessee and once worked as an attorney in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.
众议院委员会现在在做什么？该委员会经投票认定美国司法部长藐视国会，理由是其拒绝提交一份完整报告 。杰里·纳德勒是该委员会主席 。
杰里·纳德勒：今天，我们不得不采取重大且重要的举措，认定美国司法部长藐视国会 。我们并不想这样做，但我们别无选择 。
因斯基普：特朗普政府将行驶行政特权，拒绝提交完整报告的要求，该报告是罗伯特·穆勒就俄罗斯干预2016美国总统大选得出的调查结论 。下面我们来梳理一下事件走向 。乔纳森·肖布曾任职于美国司法部法律顾问办公室，他目前是田纳西州的助理检察长，他一直在关注这起事件 。
乔纳森·肖布：早上好 。谢谢你们邀请我 。
肖布：这并非没有先例 。上届国会曾裁定前司法部长霍德尔藐视国会 。我不确定能否称之为危机，不过事态似乎的确在向危机演变 。
因斯基普：两个政府部门持相反观点 。假设众议院全体成员跟进投票，裁定特朗普政府的代表威廉·巴尔藐视国会 。那众议院要如何执行这一裁定？
肖布：说实话，他们没有太多好的选择 。众议院有权动用“内在藐视权”，其曾在100年前行使过这一权力，即派警卫去逮捕被裁定藐视国会者 。但目前众议院还未行使该权力，而且也不太可能行使 。现在最可能的做法是，众议院会提起民事诉讼，就像处理前司法部长霍德尔案一样 。
长期以来，美国政府行政部门和国会一直在授权方面存在不同的宪法意见，至于哪个部门有权抵制以及何种信息必须提交，双方的看法几乎完全相反 。唯一可以解决这一问题的机构是司法部门 。但目前司法部门还没有得到机会，因为进程会拖延很长时间，不过导致尼克松下台的“水门事件”是由最高法院做出的裁定，当时尼克松总统被要求交出录音 。
这是唯一一个先例 。当然还有几起小型案件，不过该案是如今仍对各机构有指导意义的重大案件 。
因斯基普：我想知道这起事件是否存在不同寻常的地方 。你刚提到众议院裁定前司法部长霍德尔藐视国会 。你还提到了水门事件 。但一般来说，政府会回应国会的传票，像本届政府这样无视如此多要求的情况相当罕见，是这样吧？
肖布：从历史上看，行政机构通常会提交一些信息，但不会上交全部信息 。国会将保护涉及机密利益和机密文件的信息 。因此，两个机构会联手合作，找到方法来满足国会的需求，但不曝光涉及刑事调查或机密信息的敏感材料 。
可以说，政府称不会回应任何事这种情况相当不同寻常 。我想政府有进行过讨论 。应该也有信息被提交，目前并不清楚事态会发展到何种地步 。
1. hold in contempt 鄙视；蔑视；轻视；
She was held in contempt for refusing to testify.
2. turn over （向有权获得某物的人）移交，交托；
The lawyer tu rned over the release papers.
3. to be honest 老实说；说实在的；
To be honest, it was one of the worst books I've ever read.
4. figure out 想出；理解；弄清；
I can't figure out how to do this.