Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Thursday it was a "mistake" for the Justice Department not to immediately fight a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee for the unredacted Mueller report. 

The committee voted Wednesday along party lines to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for not turning over the materials.

The Justice Department offered to negotiate with committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on the release of further material from Mueller's report, but said the unredacted report could not be legally turned over.

Earlier in the day, the White House invoked executive privilege, claiming the right to block lawmakers from seeing the unredacted report.



Responding on "Fox & Friends" to what some Democrats have deemed a "constitutional crisis," Napolitano said he disagreed with the Justice Department's strategy. He said, according to the law, Barr "did the right thing" by not releasing the redacted material. 

"When you get a subpoena - which is presumed valid even if it's politically motivated, it's a legal instrument - you can't sit on it. If you can't comply with it, you file a motion before the appropriate judge to quash it," he said, explaining that the court would then rule on whether the subpoena was valid, invalid or in need of modifications.

"That's the mistake I think the DOJ made by not doing that and letting it get to this 'contempt' stage."

Napolitano said the situation has not reached the point of a true "constitutional crisis." He said the term "crisis" would be accurate if, hypothetically, a court ordered the White House or Justice Department to turn over materials to Congress and the order was not followed.

Watch the full interview above. 


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