House Oversight Announces Contempt Vote For Barr, Ross

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Posted: Jun 10, 2019 9:00 PM
House Oversight Announces Contempt Vote For Barr, Ross

Source: AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced its planned to postpone their vote on holding Attorney General William Barr in Contempt of Congress. Barr agreed to turn over documents relating to the Russia probe. 

Fast forward a few hours later and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said his committee plans to move forward with vote to hold both Barr and Secretary Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt.

"The Trump Administration has demonstrated repeatedly that it is willing to disregard the Constitution, defy decades of clear precedent, and invent frivolous new arguments to delay and obstruct Congress' oversight authority, and Attorney General [William] Barr and Secretary [Wilbur] Ross are complicit in this cover-up," Cummings said in a statement. "Both Secretary Ross and Attorney General Barr are refusing to comply with duly authorized subpoenas from Congress. Because they are in contempt of Congress, on Wednesday, the Committee will vote to move forward to enforce our bipartisan subpoenas."

Cummings and Oversight Committee Democrats want to hold Barr and Ross in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas about how a question about citizenship ended up on the upcoming 2020 United States census.

Ross released the following statement about the contempt decision:

It is sad for the country that the Committee continues to roll in this reckless direction. I never refused to meet with the Chairman. I did urge him to first provide the information we requested numerous times, and that is why the Committee specifically needs privileged information that the Chairman himself and the litigation process have recognized as confidential. He declined, because the Committee isn’t interested in cooperation - it wants to improperly influence the Supreme Court’s impending decision with media broadsides.The Committee has demonstrated its contempt for the Constitution by its chronic refusal to engage in the constitutionally-mandated accommodation process, which is far more serious than the empty stunt the Committee has planned for Wednesday. Let’s remember, in response to the Committee’s requests, the Department has provided 14,000 pages of documents, I have voluntarily testified before the Committee for nearly seven hours, and we have agreed to make three Department witnesses available for interviews in the next two weeks, including one scheduled for tomorrow.

The entire House of Representatives will vote on Tuesday to declare the Trump administration uncooperative in complying with Congressional subpoenas. Although the Democrats have said this vote would be focused on holding the Trump administration in contempt, the vote will no longer include contempt charges.

This post has been updated with additional information.