Politics: Census Fight Grows as House Panel Backs Contempt and Trump Asserts Privilege - PressFrom - US
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PoliticsCensus Fight Grows as House Panel Backs Contempt and Trump Asserts Privilege

01:20  13 june  2019
01:20  13 june  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

House Dems to hold Barr, Ross in contempt over census question

House Dems to hold Barr, Ross in contempt over census question The Oversight Committee wants key documents by Thursday.

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to recommend that the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report, hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege to shield the full

A U.S. House panel was poised to vote on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for defying a congressional subpoena. The fight over the complete report is just one aspect of a struggle between President Donald Trump and the Democrats investigating him, his

Video by Reuters

WASHINGTON — A House committee voted on Wednesday to recommend that the House hold two cabinet secretaries in contempt of Congress, hours after President Trump invoked executive privilege to block disclosure of crucial documents on the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee’s contempt recommendation for Attorney General William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sets up a possible vote on the House floor in the coming weeks. It was the culmination of a monthslong dispute with the administration over the panel’s efforts to compel testimony from top officials and documents related to the census question. The vote was mostly along party lines, with only one Republican, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, the sole member of his party to call for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, supporting it.

U.S. House panel approves contempt citations against Barr, Ross

U.S. House panel approves contempt citations against Barr, Ross The U.S. House Oversight Committee voted on Wednesday to approve contempt of Congress citations against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for defying congressional subpoenas related to the U.S. Census. By a 24-15 vote, the panel recommended that the full House of Representatives find Barr and Ross in contempt for refusing to cooperate with an investigation of the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census.

A U.S. House panel was poised to vote on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for defying a congressional subpoena. Update: President Donald Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report and its underlying

By asserting executive privilege , the White House is denying Congress access to the evidence gathered during Mueller's investigation. At Wednesday's House Judiciary Committee hearing, Nadler introduced an amendment to the contempt citation against Barr, rejecting Trump ’s claim of executive

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It was the latest front in an escalating conflict between Mr. Trump and the Democratic House, as lawmakers step up their attempts to perform oversight of the government and the executive branch moves to keep its internal deliberations confidential. The fight could ultimately result in a lengthy court battle over the ill-defined line between those rival constitutional powers.

At issue on Wednesday was a politically fraught battle over the committee’s attempts to investigate the Trump administration’s decision to ask 2020 census respondents whether they are citizens, an issue that has gone all the way to the Supreme Court. The court is expected to decide the legality of the question within weeks.

Barr will ask Trump to assert executive privilege over materials on added Census question, if lawmakers don’t back off contempt

Barr will ask Trump to assert executive privilege over materials on added Census question, if lawmakers don’t back off contempt The Justice Department revealed the move in a letter to the House Oversight Committee.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is threatening to invoke presidential powers to withhold documents on its efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census , unless House Democrats drop threats to hold two top Trump advisers in contempt of Congress.

A House vote to hold Barr in contempt was likely to trigger a court battle, with fines and possible imprisonment at stake for him. Executive privilege is only rarely invoked by U.S. presidents to keep other branches of government from getting access to certain internal executive branch information.

Democrats have charged that the move is a politically motivated attempt by Republicans to intimidate noncitizens and ultimately depress responses from people of color, leading to less representation for communities that tend to vote for them.

Before the contempt vote, the Justice Department informed Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the committee chairman, that Mr. Trump had decided to invoke his secrecy powers because Mr. Cummings had “chosen to go forward with an unnecessary and premature contempt vote.”

Census Fight Grows as House Panel Backs Contempt and Trump Asserts Privilege© T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times “This begs the question,” Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the chairman of the Oversight Committee, said. “What is being hidden?”

“We must protect the integrity of the census, and we will stand up for Congress’s authority under the Constitution to conduct meaningful oversight,” Mr. Cummings said, calling the privilege claim “another example of the administration’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated responsibilities.”

Trump asserts executive privilege to shield documents on Census citizenship question

Trump asserts executive privilege to shield documents on Census citizenship question The move came as a House panel was moving toward holding two members of the administration in contempt.

Trump asserts executive privilege as House Dems vote to hold Barr in contempt . Nadler said lawmakers were concerned that the president's decision to assert executive privilege "is going to have a chilling effect or more" on other issues relating to investigations into Trump and his administration.

A Democratic-led House panel on Wednesday approved a measure to hold US Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to hand over an Trump had not previously taken such a step in his showdown with Congress. Nadler said the White House was misapplying executive privilege in “a

“This begs the question,” Mr. Cummings added, “what is being hidden?”

At the White House, Mr. Trump defended his administration’s push to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census: “When a census goes out, you should find out whether or not — and you have the right to ask whether or not — somebody is a citizen of the United States,” he said as he met with Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda.

But on the committee, Democrats demanded to see the deliberations behind the question. In their census investigation, they said, the administration had provided little more than unresponsive documents and stonewalling of critical deposition requests.

“It is indeed laughable” to say that the administration had cooperated with the panel, said Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Democrat of Massachusetts, brandishing a blacked-out page with no text visible as an example of the heavily redacted material the Commerce Department had sent. “We’ve reached our limit.”

After the vote, Mr. Ross called the Democrats’ action part of a series of “shameless, weekly attacks on this administration.” Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said the vote “defies logic” given the department’s efforts to cooperate with the committee, and “undermines Congress’s credibility with the American people.”

House Panel Votes to Hold Barr, Ross in Contempt of Congress

House Panel Votes to Hold Barr, Ross in Contempt of Congress A House panel voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for withholding documents on plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Earlier Wednesday, President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege over the material. The Oversight and Reform Committee’s 24-15 vote Wednesday for the civil contempt resolution gives Democratic Chairman Elijah Cummings the option to file a lawsuit to enforce the panel’s subpoenas for the documents.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Democratic-led House panel on Wednesday approved a measure to The vote came hours after the White House took its own provocative step, asserting executive A House vote to hold Barr in contempt was likely to trigger a court battle, with fines and possible

Add Trump Administration as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Trump Administration news, video, and analysis from ABC News. The Oversight Committee contempt vote on Wednesday comes just days after Barr reached a separate agreement with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler

Census Fight Grows as House Panel Backs Contempt and Trump Asserts Privilege© Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times The Trump administration has called a House investigation an attempt to meddle in the legal fight over a question about citizenship on the census.

In separate letters from the Justice Department and the Department of Commerce, administration officials maintained they had already turned over many materials in response to the subpoena, but that they had to keep certain information confidential to protect the candor of internal and attorney-client deliberations. Still, both officials made it clear that the privilege assertion was in retaliation for the panel’s insistence on issuing contempt citations for Mr. Barr and Mr. Ross.

“The Department regrets that you have made this assertion necessary by your insistence upon scheduling a premature contempt vote,” the letter from the Commerce Department said.

The Justice Department also sent Mr. Cummings a memo to Mr. Trump from Mr. Barr arguing that the executive branch had a “strong interest” in keeping the materials secret to protect its ability to perform its functions, while Congress had not established that obtaining the information was critical to its “legitimate legislative functions.”

[Read the letter to Congress, along with a letter to Mr. Trump from Mr. Barr.]

Contempt vote likely after DOJ rejects demand for census docs

Contempt vote likely after DOJ rejects demand for census docs The attorney general and commerce secretary didn't comply with a Thursday deadline to turn over documents.

President Trump asserted executive privilege over special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report Wednesday, his first use of the executive authority in McGahn was a key witness in Mueller’s probe, but the White House has said it would assert privilege to bar his testimony. Trump ’s lawyers called

Earlier Wednesday, Trump asserted his Executive Privilege to avoid surrendering relevant documents. Congress has sought supporting documentation behind the administration's decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census . The government says it needs the question to better

The standoff was the latest move in an intensifying confrontation between House Democrats and Mr. Trump, who has vowed to fight “all” their oversight investigation subpoenas. It increased the prospects that the fight will end up in a prolonged legal battle.

There are few precedents in that area of the law to provide definitive guideposts about where to draw the line between Congress’ oversight power and the president’s authority to keep information secret because past disputes have largely been resolved through negotiations and accommodations, so the matter never reached the Supreme Court.

But Mr. Trump’s unabashed vow to fight House Democrats’ efforts to scrutinize his actions and those of his administration across a range of fronts — including seeking disclosure of his hidden tax returns, how some of Mr. Trump’s associates obtained security clearances, and underlying evidence from Robert S. Mueller III’s inquiry — have raised the prospect of litigation that is appealed all the way to the highest court, providing a clearer understanding of the law but running out the clock on Mr. Trump’s term.

The House voted on Tuesday to authorize the Judiciary Committee to file a lawsuit asking a judge to order the executive branch to comply with two subpoenas related to the Mueller investigation, and explicitly empowering committees to file such litigation over other subpoenas without votes of the full House. But to date the House has not voted to hold any Trump official in contempt of Congress.

Amash breaks with GOP in Barr, Ross contempt vote

Amash breaks with GOP in Barr, Ross contempt vote Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), the only Republican in Congress to come out in favor of starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump, broke with his party again on Wednesday with a committee vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt.Amash joined Democrats to vote in favor of the contempt resolution, which was in relation to subpoenaed documents on the Trump administration's addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Amash had also sided with Democrats in votes over which amendments to add to the contempt resolution.

The House took its strongest step yet in the standoff with President Trump over congressional oversight, voting Tuesday to seek Barr said he will ask Trump to assert executive privilege to shield documents on the administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census if the

The Democratic-led House on Tuesday adopted a resolution granting the House Judiciary Committee authority to take Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn to federal court to enforce subpoenas in an ongoing feud over congressional oversight.

The fight over the census centers on liberals’ suspicions that asking respondents to say whether they are American citizens could be a ploy to tilt the every-10-years reapportionment of House seats, shortchanging areas with higher levels of immigrants. They fear that undocumented immigrants or members of their families would be afraid to turn in their questionnaires, resulting in a population undercount.

The Census Bureau has estimated that asking all American residents whether they are citizens may spark a 5.8-percent decline in response rates from noncitizens, which Democrats fear will skew the reapportionment of House seats toward Republicans while depriving states of federal resources. Apportionment of House districts has been based on raw population, not the number of eligible voters.

“I want to know why people like Kris Kobach, with a résumé of voter suppression techniques, have their fingerprints all over the most sensitive census operations that we have as a government,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, said as a bitter debate over the contempt citations unfolded between Republicans and Democrats on the panel. “This determines who is here. This determines who has power in the United States.”

In sworn testimony before Congress, Mr. Ross said he had decided to add the question “solely” in response to a Justice Department request in December 2017 for data to help it enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But emails disclosed during the litigation showed that Mr. Ross had begun discussing the addition of the question several months before that, and that Mr. Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state and architect of strict voter identification laws, had discussed doing so during Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. Three federal trial judges have ruled that the evidence in the record demonstrates that Mr. Ross was dissembling.

Cummings sets contempt votes for Barr, Ross for Wednesday

Cummings sets contempt votes for Barr, Ross for Wednesday The House Oversight and Reform Committee will vote on Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas. Committee chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said last week he would schedule the contempt votes after both of the officials' agencies did not hand over subpoenaed documents relating to the Trump administration's efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. "Both Secretary Ross and Attorney General Barr are refusing to comply with duly authorized subpoenas from Congress.

Trump to invoke executive privilege to block House Democrats’ access to documents about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census . Republicans have said the contempt proceedings against Barr and Ross are premature, citing ongoing Supreme Court litigation over the census issue.

New evidence from the computer files of a deceased Republican strategist suggests that the administration’s actual reason was to collect information that might allow states to draw voting districts counting only eligible voters rather than all residents, as is the current practice. That would, the strategist wrote, “be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”

Republicans argued that Democrats were rushing the contempt citations in an attempt to pre-empt the Supreme Court and possibly influence its ruling.

“You are so concerned the Supreme Court’s going to rule on this that you’ve got to get it done before that happens,” said Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the panel. “Why don’t the Democrats want to know how many citizens are in the country?”

Wednesday’s actions in the Oversight Committee marked the second time this year that a committee has recommended members of Mr. Trump’s cabinet be held in contempt of Congress. The Judiciary Committee sought a contempt resolution against Mr. Barr for his refusal to provide the panel an unredacted version of the Mueller report as well as the evidence that supported the special counsel’s conclusions.

House leaders decided for now against voting to hold Mr. Barr in contempt after the Justice Department began on Monday to share some of the special counsel’s evidence with the committee. For the same reason, it is not yet clear whether the House Judiciary Committee will use its authority to file a lawsuit against him.

In the Oversight Committee’s subpoena fight, members have protested Mr. Barr’s instructions to a subordinate involved in the census to defy a subpoena requiring him to appear for a deposition based on a longstanding House rule that government lawyers are not permitted to accompany a witness in the deposition room.

Adam Liptak and Peter Baker contributed reporting.

Cummings sets contempt votes for Barr, Ross for Wednesday.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee will vote on Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas. Committee chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said last week he would schedule the contempt votes after both of the officials' agencies did not hand over subpoenaed documents relating to the Trump administration's efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. "Both Secretary Ross and Attorney General Barr are refusing to comply with duly authorized subpoenas from Congress.

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