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House Oversight Committee To Hold Barr and Ross In Contempt Over Census Citizenship Question Cover-Up

The powerful House Oversight Committee has announced that they will vote to hold Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr in contempt for ignoring subpoenas related to the 2020 Census citizenship question.

House Oversight to Vote To Hold Barr and Ross In Contempt Over Census Citizenship Question Cover-Up

House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote to Barr and Ross respectively:

I am writing to inform you that the Committee is scheduling a vote to hold you in contempt of Congress as a result of your failure to comply with a bipartisan subpoena issued more than two months ago for documents relating to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. …

Unfortunately, your actions are part of a pattern. The Trump Administration has been engaged in one of the most unprecedented cover-ups since Watergate, extending from the White House to multiple federal agencies and departments of the government and across numerous investigations. The tactics of this cover-up are now clear. The Administration has been challenging Congress’ core authority to conduct oversight under the Constitution, questioning the legislative bases for congressional inquiries, objecting to committee rules and precedents that have been in place for decades under both Republican and Democratic leadership, and making baseless legal arguments to avoid producing documents and testimony.

This cover-up is being directed from the top. Several weeks ago, President Trump vowed publicly, ‘We’re fighting all the subpoenas.’ Since then, he has refused to work on legislative priorities, such as infrastructure, until Congress halts all oversight and investigations of his Administration. Although he has suggested that all subpoenas from Congress are partisan and somehow related to the Russia probe, neither claim is true. The subpoenas in this investigation were adopted on a bipartisan basis, and this investigation has nothing to do with Russia.

The cover-up is part of the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate with any congressional investigation. The White House is trying to hide their real motivation for the citizenship census question, which is to help Republicans gerrymander House districts in favor of white conservative voters. The contempt vote is a needed step before the House can sue Barr and Ross for the documents and evidence.

This is a bipartisan subpoena, and if Republicans on the committee go along with Democrats on the contempt vote, it will demonstrate that both sides of the aisle are getting tired of Trump’s stonewalling.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

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Jason Easley

Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements. Awards and  Professional Memberships Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association

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