The House has voted to hold Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr in criminal contempt of Congress, the move shows that Democrats are using their control in the chamber to dig into the operations of President Donald Trump’s administration.
The House voted 230-198 on Wednesday, July 17, to hold the two Trump administration officials in contempt, citing they defied subpoenas related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
The vote represents an escalation of Democratic efforts to use their House majority to aggressively investigate the inner workings of the Trump administration, AP said.
Reuters added that four Democrats joined all the Republicans to vote against the measure.
The vote is largely symbolic since the charges would be referred to Barr’s Justice Department.
The House conducted the vote even after President Trump last week abandoned his bid to put a citizenship question into the 2020 census after the Supreme Court last month blocked his initial effort to add the question. He is directing agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases.
Before the vote took place, Ross said the maneuver is nothing more than “political theater” intended to embarrass and harass the Trump administration.
Speaking on Fox Business, the commerce chief said his department has provided more than 14,000 pages of documents related to the 2020 census and excluded only 15 pages they believe are protected under executive privilege.
Includes reporting from AP, Reuters.