This is the group digging up videos of GOP shifts on contempt of Congress debate

WASHINGTON — The video was posted on Facebook and Twitter yesterday. Sen. Marco Rubio strikes a grave tone as he calls for then-Attorney General Eric Holder to resign after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives found him in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents relating to an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) that had gone awry. 

“No one can be above the law, not even the Attorney General. He should comply immediately with this valid congressional request,” Rubio says in the video. “And I think an Attorney General held in contempt of Congress is someone who should resign.”

The clip resurfaced as House Democrats are moving towards holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the full, unredacted Mueller report to the House Judiciary Committee. Rubio has come out against House Democrats’ contempt resolution, calling it a “show” in several tweets on Thursday morning.   

The video, part of an ad campaign by the activist group “Republicans for the Rule of Law,” ran on Facebook and Instagram with the text — “Attorneys General, Executive Privilege, and Contempt? Marco Rubio explains why no one is above the law.”

Attorneys General, Executive Privilege, and Contempt? @marcorubio explains why no one is above the law.

— Republicans for the Rule of Law (@ForTheRuleOfLaw) May 8, 2019

According to the Facebook ad library, the video ad campaign started on Wednesday and had reached between 5,000 and 10,000 people by the time of publication. Two versions of the ad were shown with the exact same text, just with different target audiences. One ad appeared to target men over the age of 55 nationwide, and the other seemed to have a target audience of adults in Florida. The group spent less than $100 on promoting the video. 

Republicans for the Rule of Law describes itself on its website as a “group of life-long Republicans dedicated to defending the institutions of our republic and upholding the rule of law. Among its seven-person advisory council is Wendall Wilkie II, the grandson of the 1940 Republican nominee for president who lost to Franklin Roosevelt. Republicans for the Rule of Law itself is described as a project of “Defending Democracy Together,” which counts people like Bill Kristol among its directors.  

“At Republicans for the Rule of Law, we believe that ‘sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,’ wrote Republicans for the Rule of Law spokesman and legal advisor Chris Truax in an email. “Promoting videos, such as the clip of Senator Rubio from 2012, is a reminder that core American principles do not shift with the partisan winds.” 

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Under a change in IRS rules last year, 501c(4) groups like Republicans for the Rule of Law and Defending Democracy Together don’t have to disclose their donors if they spend less than half of their money on political activities. Other such 501c(4) groups include the National Rifle Association, AARP, and Americans for Prosperity. 

House Democrats holding Barr in contempt isn’t a “constitutional crisis” & its not “oversight”, its a show.

The entire world has access to all of volume II of #MuellerReport except for 2 full lines & 7 partial ones redacted in accordance with federal law protecting grand jury.

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 9, 2019

Rubio specifically addressed the video in a Wednesday evening tweet, writing that Holder’s alleged transgressions were worse than Barr’s. Rubio’s tweet comes in response to criticism from Trump critic Bill Kristol, who’d called the old video a “great statement by Marco Rubio.”

If like Eric Holder William Barr ever authorizes a program like #FastandFurious that gives drug dealers guns subsequently used to kill a U.S. agent,lies about it & then refuses to provide Congress information, he should resign.

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 8, 2019

Republicans for the Rule of Law also resurfaced video of then-Rep. Lindsey Graham discussing the Watergate scandal. According to Graham, President Richard Nixon’s failure to turn over documents to Congress was what resulted in his becoming subject to impeachment. Now, Graham has called the contempt proceedings a “political stunt”  

It’s Congress’s job to oversee the executive branch, including the president and the attorney general. When Clinton and Obama refused oversight, Republicans held them accountable.

Attorney General Barr should testify and provide answers to Congress and the American people.

— Republicans for the Rule of Law (@ForTheRuleOfLaw) May 6, 2019

What is going on in the House Judiciary Committee is not a constitutional crisis.

It is a political stunt!

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 8, 2019



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