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 House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) hold a news conference at the U.S. Capitol June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
 House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD),…

Trump asserts executive privilege blocking census documents

In a letter to Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd announced the President's decision to asserted executive…

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The Department of Justice today announced President Donald Trump’s decision to assert executive privilege in blocking Congress’ access to documents pertaining to the census 2020 citizenship question, including material sought by House Democrats by subpoena.

“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 and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings.

“In addition, the president has made a protective assertion of executive privilege over the remainder of the subpoenaed documents.” This basically declares the Census documents off-limits to Democrats.

What is at issue here? The Oversight panel’s investigation into the origins of the administration’s efforts to include the citizenship question on the census. Ross has denied that the citizenship question was inspired by efforts to suppress census participation by immigrants, including those in the country legally, who may tend to vote for Democrats. Now, the Supreme Court must decide.

This move also comes as the House Oversight prepared proceedings to vote on holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with bipartisan subpoenas.

“The census is critical to our democracy and critical to every single one of our constituents,” Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, said.

Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York angrily responded that she wanted to know why people like former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach -- “with a resume of voter suppression techniques in Kansas” -- and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon “have their fingerprints all over the census.”

“I want to know about corruption. That’s what I want to know about -- the racism and the very disturbing history that we are seeing here,” she said.

 

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