Democrats Accuse Bill Barr of Covering Up Trump’s Efforts to Sabotage Obamacare

They’re demanding that the attorney general hand over information about a controversial Justice Department decision.

Jeff Malet/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

After the Justice Department announced its support for a widely criticized ruling by a Texas federal judge declaring Obamacare unconstitutional, House Democrats sent a request to Attorney General William Barr for information about how the Trump administration had arrived at its decision. 

But according to a letter signed by five Democratic committee chairmen this week, the attorney general has ignored their demand—yet another act of defiance by the Trump administration amid a larger standoff over Democrats’ attempts to perform congressional oversight. Now, the Democrats have signaled that they’re ready to subpoena Barr in an effort to get to the bottom of the administration’s campaign to dismantle the popular health care law.

“We requested that you produce eight categories of documents relating to the White House’s involvement in this sudden and extremely troubling reversal and that you make four individuals involved in this matter available for testimony,” the letter stated, adding that Barr had failed to comply with an initial deadline set the lawmakers.

The five chairmen—Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y), Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), Rep. Richard E. Neal (Mass.), and Rep. Bobby Scott (Va.)—indicated that if Barr refused to comply by the new deadline of May 24,  they would “have no choice but to consider alternative means of obtaining compliance.”

Republicans have good reason to be wary of any renewed focus on Trump’s efforts to sabotage Obamacare. Amid an uproar over the administration’s backing of the Texas ruling, Trump was forced to retreat from his original plan to replace the health care law before next year’s election. Instead, he declared that Congress would hold a vote on a new plan immediately after the 2020 campaign.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate