President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 6, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
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.
The Department of Justice announced the move just minutes ahead of a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in which Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross were expected to be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the panel’s subpoenas.
“These documents are protected from disclosure by the deliberative process, attorney-client communications, or attorney work product components of executive privilege,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to Oversight and Reform Committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D., Md.). “Regrettably, you have made these assertions necessary by your insistence upon scheduling a premature contempt vote.”
Barr said Tuesday that he would ask the president to assert executive privilege over the documents if Cummings moved forward with the contempt vote.
Cummings said Wednesday morning that he would delay the scheduled contempt vote in order to give lawmakers the opportunity to read Boyd’s letter. He also cast Trump’s continued