WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over information related to his administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census as the House Oversight Committee prepared to hold two of his Cabinet members in contempt for defying its subpoenas on the issue.
Trump’s move, which the Justice Department announced in a letter to the committee’s chairman, Elijah Cummings, came as the panel began a meeting to vote on a resolution to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for withholding documents on the decision to add the question to the census.
The resolution would allow Democrats to pursue both civil and criminal contempt of both Cabinet officials for defying subpoenas issued by Cummings, D-Md., on April 2 to produce the documents. Democratic leadership would then decide which avenue to pursue.Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attends an event in Washington on June 6, 2019.Leah Millis / Reuters file
The planned committee vote comes a day after the House approved a resolution to authorize the House Judiciary Committee and other panels to go to court to enforce their subpoenas of the Trump administration.