POLITICS

White House Asserts Executive Privilege In Census Fight

Jun 12, 2019, 12:11 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:05 pm
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform June 12, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a meeting on “a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find the Attorney General and the Secretary of Commerce in contempt of Congress.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(D-NY)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has asserted executive privilege over documents that were subpoenaed by Congress related to the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

The claim comes as the House Oversight Committee considers whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to turn over the subpoenaed documents.

In a letter to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the Justice Department asserted that the Trump administration has “engaged in good-faith efforts” to satisfy the committee’s oversight needs and said the planned contempt vote was premature.

Democrats fear the question will reduce census participation in immigrant-heavy communities. They say they want specific documents to determine why Ross added the citizenship question to the 2020 census and contend the Trump administration has declined to provide them despite repeated requests.

The administration has turned over more than 17,000 of pages of documents and Ross testified for nearly seven hours . The Justice Department has said two senior officials also sat for interviews with committee staff members and it was working to produce tens of thousands of additional pages of relevant documents.

Cummings disputed the Justice Department’s account and said most of the documents turned over to the committee had already been made public.

The administration’s refusal to turn over requested documents “does not appear to be an effort to engage in good faith efforts to comply” with congressional oversight, Cummings said. “Instead it appears to be part of a policy of defiance of congressional authority.”

Trump has vowed to “fight all the subpoenas” issued by Congress and has vowed to refuse to work on legislative priorities, such as infrastructure, until Congress halts investigations of his administration.

“The census is critical to our democracy and it is critical to every single one of our constituents,” Cummings said.

Cummings postponed a planned vote Wednesday morning to allow lawmakers time to read the Justice Department letters.

Ross told the committee the decision in March 2018 to add the question was based on a Justice Department request to help it enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Cummings disputed that, citing documents unearthed last week suggesting that the real reason the administration sought to add the citizenship question was to help officials gerrymander legislative districts in overtly partisan and racist ways.

The Supreme Court is considering the citizenship question in a ruling expected by the end of the month.

Some of the documents the committee is seeking are protected by attorney-client privileges and other confidential processes, Boyd said, adding that the president has made a “protective assertion” of executive privilege so the administration can fully review all of the documents.

“The president, the Department of Justice, has every right to do that,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on MSNBC. “They’re asking for documents that are privileged and I would hope that they can continue to negotiate and speak about what is appropriate and what is not, but the world is watching. This country sees that they’d rather continue to investigate than legislate.”

Democrats have accused the Trump administration of failing to comply with subpoenas in an effort to stonewall Congress’ oversight power.

The House Judiciary Committee voted last month to hold Barr in contempt of Congress after the department didn’t immediately comply with a subpoena to turn over an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia probe and underlying investigative documents.

Republicans have criticized such hearings as a waste of time and have called for Democrats to move on.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Politics

FILE: Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on September 25, 2021 in Perry, Georgia. Repu...
MICHAEL R. SISAK, Associated Press

Judge ends Trump contempt order after lengthy legal fight

A New York judge has ruled that former President Donald Trump is no longer in contempt of court.
2 days ago
MENDON, IL - JUNE 25: U.S. Representative Mary Miller (R-IL) cheers with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO)...
Associated Press

Hard-line conservative Reps. Boebert, Miller win primaries

Two of Congress’ staunchest conservatives repelled more centrist challengers to lock up Republican nominations on Tuesday.
2 days ago
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Associate of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas (L) walks past criminal court on ...
LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press

Giuliani associate Parnas sentenced to 20 months in prison

An associate of Rudy Giuliani was sentenced Wednesday to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes.
2 days ago
FILE: An exterior view of the U.S. Supreme Court building May 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by...
Associated Press

Justices say vet who lost job as Texas trooper can sue state

The Supreme Court is allowing a former state trooper to sue Texas over his claim that he was forced out of his job when he returned from Army service in Iraq.
2 days ago
FILE: A woman with an  iPhone...
BARBARA ORTUTAY AP Technology Writer

EXPLAINER: Data privacy concerns emerge after Roe decision

With abortion now or soon to be illegal in over a dozen states and severely restricted in many more, Big Tech companies that collect personal details of their users are facing new calls to limit that tracking and surveillance.
2 days ago
US President Joe Biden, speaks with Jens Stoltenberg (unseen) NATO Secretaty General at the NATO le...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press

US to boost military presence in Europe for Russia threat

President Joe Biden says the U.S. is enhancing its military presence in Europe for the long haul to bolster regional security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
White House Asserts Executive Privilege In Census Fight