House Oversight Committee Votes to Hold William Barr and Wilbur Ross in Contempt

Attorney General William Barr reacts as he appears before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee to make his Justice Department budget request, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Washington. Barr said Wednesday that he was reviewing the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. He said he believed the president's campaign had been spied on …
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt, citing their refusal to comply with subpoenas for documents related to the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The vote fell mostly along partisan lines, with 24 Democrats voting “aye” and 15 Republicans voting “no.” Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) voted “yes” with Democrats.

The vote escalates the fight between the Democrat-controlled House and the Trump administration over compliance with subpoenas related to the various wide-ranging House investigations into the administration.

In response to the House’s planned vote, the administration invoked executive privilege over the requested documents.

Earlier this week, the full House had planned to vote on holding Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt for not testifying to the Judiciary Committee and providing a fully-unredacted version of the special counsel report on Russian interference and underlying documents for the report.

However, the vote was called off after Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) reached a deal with the Justice Department to begin receiving the underlying documents. The House instead voted on a resolution giving Nadler and committee chairmen more power to enforce subpoenas.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is hoping to ward off calls for impeachment proceedings from membersof her own caucus by encouraging them to continue investigating the administration.

Polls show that American voters do not support impeachment. A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows that 61% of American voters oppose impeachment. Sixty-four percent of voters also disapproved of the way Democrats were handling the impeachment issue.

There is also no support for impeachment in the Republican-controlled Senate, ensuring that impeachment would fail.

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