The White House slammed the Democrat-controlled House’s vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the move “ridiculous and yet another lawless attempt to harass the President and his Administration.”
“Today’s vote by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to hold Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross in contempt is ridiculous and yet another lawless attempt to harass the President and his Administration,” Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
Grisham said the Departments of Justice and Commerce have produced more than 31,000 pages of documents on the issue, and that senior officials from both agencies have spoken on record to address the matter.
“Instead of accepting the numerous good-faith efforts of accommodation the Departments have made, Democrats continue to demand documents that are subject to executive privilege,” White House press secretary added.
She concluded, “House Democrats know they have no legal right to these documents, but their shameful and cynical politics know no bounds.”
The action marks an escalation of Democratic efforts to use their House majority to aggressively investigate the inner workings of the Trump administration.
The vote is largely symbolic because the Justice Department is unlikely to prosecute Barr and Ross.
President Trump last week abandoned his bid to inject a citizenship question into the census, after the Supreme Court said the administration’s justification for the question “seems to have been contrived.” Trump directed agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says a planned vote by the Democratic-controlled House to hold him in contempt of Congress is nothing more than “political theater” intended to embarrass and harass the Trump administration.
Ross tells the Fox Business Network that his department has supplied more than 14,000 pages of documents related to the 2020 census and excluded only about 15 pages that the administration believes are protected under executive privilege.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press.