President Trump invoked executive privilege over 2020 census documents related to his administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census — just as the House Oversight Committee was moving forward with its plan to vote on holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for not producing the material.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, announced Tuesday during the committee’s meeting that he would delay the contempt vote until Tuesday afternoon, in order to allow members of the committee to review the Justice Department’s explanation of the president’s claim of privilege over the documents.
Committee Democrats say their efforts to obtain documents related to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census have been thwarted by the administration for months. Although the government says that it has provided some 17,000 pages of documents to the Oversight Committee, Cummings complained that most of the documents were already public or heavily redacted.
The Justice Department said in a letter to Cummings that by going ahead with the contempt vote, the committee has “abandoned the accommodation process with respect to your requests and subpoenas for documents” regarding the inclusion of the citizenship question.
In the letter, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd