Our Mission is to keep our audience with an interrupted stream of selected financial information from different serious sources, with the objective to provide online tools with information about investments in the financial markets. We supply you, with the following information: Asia Markets Closing Report, Europe Markets Closing Report, Wall Street Market Closing Report, Market News, Commodities Daily Price Report, Daily Treasury Yields Report, EU/FX Daily Report.
Politics | House votes to hold Attorney General Barr, Commerce Secretary Ross in contempt for failing to comply with subpoena on 2020 Census
By Felicia Sonmez
Trump, joined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, and Attorney
General William Barr, speaks during an event at the White House on July
11, 2019. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
National reporter on The Washington Post's breaking political news team
July 17 at 7:52 PM
House on Wednesday voted to hold Attorney General William P. Barr and
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt for failing to
provide documents related to the Trump administration’s efforts to add a
citizenship question to the 2020 Census, escalating the fight between
Democrats and the White House over congressional oversight.
The 230-to-198 vote along party lines came one day after the House approved a resolution condemning President Trump’s racist remarks aimed at four minority congresswomen.
After a string of legal defeats, Trump last week abruptly retreated
from his efforts to add the question to the census, announcing that he
will instead order federal agencies to provide the Commerce Department
with records on the numbers of citizens and noncitizens in the country.
lawmakers continue to demand answers about the motivations behind the
administration’s 19-month effort to ask about citizenship status on the
decennial survey. In May, new evidence emerged
suggesting that the question was crafted specifically to give an
electoral advantage to Republicans and whites. The Trump administration
has said it needs the information to better enforce the Voting Rights
Barr and Ross wrote to House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi (D-Calif.) earlier Wednesday saying they “strongly oppose” the
resolution and asked her to postpone the vote so they could continue
working through a legally mandated process toward a compromise.
taking this action, the House is both unnecessarily undermining
inter-branch comity and degrading the constitutional separation of
powers and its own institutional integrity,” the two Cabinet members
In a statement, White House press
secretary Stephanie Grisham called the vote “ridiculous” and said it was
“yet another lawless attempt to harass the president and his
“House Democrats know they have
no legal right to these documents, but their shameful and cynical
politics know no bounds,” she said.
Ross said in
a statement that the vote was a “PR stunt” and that Democrats “made
every attempt to ascribe evil motivations to everyday functions of
Justice Department spokeswoman
Kerri Kupec defended the department’s efforts and said that “holding the
Attorney General in contempt for working in good-faith with Congress
marks a new low for Speaker Pelosi’s House of Representatives.”
The impact of the contempt vote is largely symbolic.
Those found in criminal contempt are normally referred to the Justice
Department for prosecution; in this instance, the Justice Department
would not prosecute itself.
During Wednesday’s floor debate, Republicans cast Democrats’ holding of the vote as merely a political show.
may be in July, but it’s Groundhog Day all over again,” House Minority
Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said. Pointing to the contempt vote, a
Democratic resolution on impeachment and Tuesday’s resolution
condemning Trump’s racist remarks aimed at four minority Democratic
congresswomen, McCarthy said Democrats are consumed with passing
measures “attacking Trump” while voters are more concerned with
Rep. Carol Miller
(R-W.Va.) defended the administration’s efforts to inquire about
citizenship, contending that asking such a question is “standard
operating procedure” in other countries, including Canada and Australia.
“Knowing who is in our country should not be controversial,” she said.
Democrats responded by arguing that the administration’s efforts were
part of a broader pattern of seeking to dilute the power of minority
voters. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) said the push for the
citizenship question was “disturbing” because “it’s in a context of
voter suppression that’s all across America.”
the citizenship question on the census is part and parcel of that
scheme to discourage minority voting in America, to frighten immigrant
communities,” Connolly said.
Others, such as
Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), said the battle was about congressional
oversight of the executive branch, noting that the Trump administration
had “already lost” the policy battle in the courts.
lost because their justification was ‘contrived,’ according to Chief
Justice Roberts,” Raskin said, adding: “This is about congressional
Trump’s order came after the Supreme
Court ruled that the administration cannot move forward on adding the
question without providing a solid justification for its plan.
their letter, Barr and Ross wrote that their departments had made
“significant efforts” to accommodate Congress’s requests, and they
disagreed that they had tried to obstruct lawmakers’ inquiry. They
claimed that the “limited materials still at issue are subject to a
number of legal privileges that have been upheld in the pending
litigation, as well as the president’s assertion of executive
“There is no information to hide; there are institutional integrities to preserve,” they wrote.
April, the Oversight Committee authorized its chairman, Rep. Elijah E.
Cummings (D-Md.), to issue subpoenas for a deposition of John Gore,
principal deputy assistant attorney general, and to Barr and Ross for
documents related to the 2020 Census decision. But the Justice
Department said it would not comply with the subpoena for Gore to
testify about the question, and the administration has vowed to
stonewall all House subpoenas.
In an interview
Wednesday morning on Fox Business Network, Ross maintained that the
administration will push ahead on gathering citizenship data through
“Well, I think it’s just gamesmanship on their part,” he said of the continued opposition by Democrats.
“They know we’re going to come much closer to the answer than we ever
have before, because with the president’s executive order, we’re having
much better access to federal documents than we ever had before.”
vote is only the latest attempt by House Democrats to force the
administration to submit to congressional oversight. Last month, the
House voted to seek court enforcement of subpoenas for Barr and former White House counsel Donald McGahn.
move by the House to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt of
Congress is rare but not unprecedented: In 2012, the Republican-led
to hold then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt over his
failure to provide material in the probe of Operation Fast and Furious, a
federal government program targeting gun trafficking by Mexican
Matt Zapotosky and Rachael Bade contributed to this report.