chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
May 30, 2019

Legal Fact Check explores challenges of citing AG with contempt

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2019 — With the House Judiciary Committee recommending that Attorney General William Barr should be cited for contempt of Congress, a newly posted ABA Legal Fact Check details the legal difficulties ahead to enforce such a citation.

The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly empower Congress to conduct investigations and oversight, but the authority is implied since the Constitution gives Congress “all legislative powers.” The fact check explores the historical and legal precedent for Congress to investigate a president or any part of the executive branch, and looks to House action against then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2012 to suggest the path ahead for any contempt charge against Barr.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. For coverage of other timely issues in the news, these prior ABA Legal Fact Checks might be helpful:

  • Click here for an ABA Legal Fact Check on under what circumstances, if any, would a president be above the law.
  • Click here for an ABA Legal Fact Check on the authority of a president to issue pardons.
  • Click here for a look at the law behind foreign influence and U.S. elections.
  • Click here on a president’s emergency powers
  • Click here on the limits of U.S. troops at the southern border
  • Click here on what legally constitutes the crime of treason

The URL for the site is Follow us on Twitter @ABAFactCheck.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews