Trump Asserts Executive Privilege over Docs Related to Citizenship Census Question

Trump Asserts Executive Privilege over Docs Related to Citizenship Census Question

The House Oversight Committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to turn over documents about a citizenship question the Trump administration wanted added to the census.

A contempt vote by the committee would be an escalation of Democratic efforts to use their House majority to aggressively investigate the inner workings of the Trump administration.

President Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege to block lawmakers from accessing documents related to his administration's plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

Ross told the committee the March 2018 decision to add the question was based on a Justice Department request to help it enforce the Voting Rights Act. The vote was mostly along party lines, with only one Republican, Representative Justin Amash of MI, supporting it.

Asked about the issue, Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday: "When you have a census and you're not allowed to talk about whether or not somebody's a citizen or not, that doesn't sound so good to me". And they claimed the administration had not been stonewalling the committee, pointing to the few officials that were made available for interviews, in addition to thousands of documents the administration has produced.

However, committee Democrats have said documents show that Ross "began a secret campaign" to add the citizenship question to the census questionnaire shortly after taking office and months before being formally asked to do so by the Justice Department.

"These documents are protected from disclosure by the deliberative process, attorney-client communications, or attorney work product components of executive privilege", Assistant U.S. Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter to oversight committee chairman Elijah Cummings. However, House Democrats on Tuesday stopped short of holding him in contempt on the floor. After it was revealed last month that the committee had subpoenaed his testimony, several of Trump's congressional Republican allies took the unprecedented step of openly urging Trump Jr.to either flout the committee's summons, or invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, and refuse to answer the panel's questions. Instead, they passed a measure that authorized the filing of lawsuits to force him and former White House counsel Don McGahn into complying with the Judiciary Committee's subpoenas.

It is unclear if and when Cummings will seek to do so when it comes to his census probe subpoenas.

Additionally, the committee demanded unredacted versions of emails Ross sent to aides well before the DOJ request pressuring them to get the question added.

McDaniel, a former Michigan GOP leader who is prohibited under party rules from supporting primary candidates, declined to comment on her conversations with Trump but said it was "sad to see Congressman Amash parroting the Democrats' talking points on Russian Federation". Supreme Court, which may soon issue a ruling. The challengers in the case have unveiled recently-obtained evidence that a key player in the administration's push for the question, a now deceased GOP gerrymandering guru, had previously advocated for it for the purposes of boosting Republicans' electoral advantages. With illegals out of the mix, the congressional maps in a lot of blue states-cough* California cough* cough*-will have their congressional districts rearranged. "Nunes said the American people have been subjected to a hoax perpetuated by Democrats and those in government who expected Hillary Clinton to win the election".

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