another contempt vote
July 17, 2019

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for their refusal to hand over subpoenaed documents related to the Trump administration's attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The 230-198 vote was along party lines. Before the vote, Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said he did "not take this decision lightly. Holding any secretary in criminal contempt of Congress is a serious and sober matter, one that I have done everything in my power to avoid. But in the case of the attorney general and the secretary, Secretary Ross, they blatantly obstructed our ability to do congressional oversight into the real reason Secretary Ross was trying for the first time in 70 years to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census."

After weeks of back and forth, with the Department of Justice saying it was giving up the census fight only to have President Trump say he was considering an executive order to ensure the question was included, Trump announced last week he will instead have federal agencies turn over to the Commerce Department records on how many citizens and non-citizens are in the U.S. Catherine Garcia

June 3, 2019

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced on Monday that the full House of Representatives will vote next week on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress.

The vote will take place on June 11. In a statement, Hoyer said the resolution "will authorize the Judiciary Committee to pursue civil action to seek enforcement of its subpoenas in federal court. It also authorizes House Committees that have issued subpoenas as part of their oversight and investigation responsibilities to seek civil enforcement of those subpoenas when they are ignored."

After Barr refused to comply with subpoenas related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation issued by the House Judiciary Committee, the panel voted to hold him in contempt. Last month, McGahn ignored his own subpoena from the panel, after the White House ordered him not to appear before the committee.

"This administration's systematic refusal to provide Congress with answers and cooperate with congressional subpoenas is the biggest cover-up in American history, and Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight on behalf of the American people," Hoyer said. Catherine Garcia

June 3, 2019

It's like déjà-vu.

The House Oversight Committee is preparing to vote on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for not adhering to the committee's subpoenas for documents related to the addition of a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 Census, committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) announced in letters to Barr and Ross on Monday.

Cummings zeroed in Barr's "unprecedented order" to John Gore, a top official in the Justice Department's Civil Rights division, to defy a subpoena after the committee also requested he appear before them to give testimony.

This is becoming old hat for Barr, though, who faced a similar scenario in May when the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold him in contempt for not showing up to his scheduled testimony on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether the Trump administration can add the citizenship question to the census. Tim O'Donnell

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