The House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress on Wednesday for defying the panel’s subpoenas for documents about the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The vote came hours after President Donald Trump moved to block Congress’ access to the subpoenaed documents by asserting executive privilege.
Trump issued the broad privilege claim at the urging of the Justice Department on Wednesday morning as the committee was beginning contempt proceedings against Barr and Ross for not complying with the panel’s subpoenas, which were issued in April.
“These documents are protected from disclosure by the deliberative process, attorney-client communications, or attorney work product components of executive privilege,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).