Trump Asserts Executive Privilege over Mueller Report as House Prepares to Hold Barr in Contempt

Jack Crowe

President Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over the unredacted Mueller report, just moments before the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance a contempt resolution against Attorney General William Barr due to his refusal to turn over the full report.

Citing Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler’s “blatant abuse of power,” the White House said the president “has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege.”

The contempt resolution passed the Judiciary Committee 22–12 along party lines, and the full House is expected to vote on it Wednesday afternoon. Moments before the contempt vote, Nadler announced that the president had taken the “dramatic step” of asserting executive privilege.

“The Department’s decision reflects President Trump’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated duties,” Nadler said in a statement. “In the coming days, I expect that Congress will have no choice but to confront the behavior of this lawless Administration. The Committee will also take a hard look at the officials who are enabling this cover up.”

Barr sent a letter to Trump Wednesday morning asking that he assert executive privilege over the full Mueller report and the evidence underlying it in order to protect sensitive grand-jury information and evidence related to other ongoing criminal probes.

“The Committee therefore demands all of the Special Counsel’s investigative files, which consist of millions of pages of classified and unclassified documents bearing upon more than two dozen criminal cases and investigations, many of which are ongoing,” Barr’s letter reads. “These materials include law enforcement information, information about sensitive intelligence sources and methods and grand jury information that the department is prohibited from disclosing by law.”

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, accused Nadler of rushing through the oversight process and demanding the full unredacted report because he and his colleagues cannot accept that Mueller’s findings do not further their partisan interests.

“I ask you to recognize that craven and insincere politics yield anemic dividends for Americans who have asked us to legislate,” Collins said. “As I have told you on multiple occasions and proved at last week’s pharmaceuticals markup, I stand ready to work with you to promote solutions. I will not, though, become a bystander as you assail the attorney general and this committee. Our democracy deserves better.”

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