Trump Asserts Executive Privilege on Census Documents Ahead of House Committee Contempt Vote – The New York Times

“This begs the question,” Mr. Cummings added: “What is being hidden?”

At the White House, Mr. Trump defended his administration’s push to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census: “When a census goes out, you should find out whether or not — and you have the right to ask whether — somebody is a citizen of the United States,” he said as he met with Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda.

But in an Oversight Committee meeting on Capitol Hill, Democrats demanded to see the deliberations behind the question, and they pointed to Mr. Trump’s declaration months ago that he intended to defy all congressional subpoenas. In the census investigation, they said, the administration had provided little more than unresponsive documents and stonewalling of critical deposition requests.

“It is indeed laughable” to say that the administration had cooperated with the panel, said Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Democrat of Massachusetts, brandishing a blacked-out page with no text visible as an example of the heavily redacted material the Commerce Department had sent. “We’ve reached our limit.”

In separate letters from the Justice Department and the Department of Commerce, administration officials maintained they had already had turned over many materials in response to the subpoena, but that they had to keep certain information confidential to protect the candor of internal and attorney-client deliberations. Still, both officials made it clear that the privilege assertion was in retaliation for the panel’s insistence on issuing contempt citations for Mr. Barr and Mr. Ross.

“The Department regrets that you have made this assertion necessary by your insistence upon scheduling a premature contempt vote,” the letter from the Commerce Department said.


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