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Trump Calls Executive Privilege Before Barr Contempt Vote

Fight over the unredacted version of the Mueller report rages on
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2019 9:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – The House Judiciary Committee gathered Wednesday morning for its vote on holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over the DOJ's refusal to comply with a subpoena for an unredacted version of the Mueller report. Big news came just beforehand: A letter delivered Tuesday night to committee Chair Jerrold Nadler from Assistant AG Stephen Boyd stated that in light of the contempt vote, Barr will be "compelled to request that the president invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena." That happened right before the vote. "The President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials," Boyd wrote in a new letter to Nadler Wednesday morning, per CNN. More:

  • CNN has the letter in full. It also expresses disappointment at the committee's choice to move forward with the contempt vote and states that "by doing so, you have terminated our ongoing negotiations and abandoned the accommodation process."

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  • The AP reports that the two sides attempted to hammer out issues on Tuesday night related to how many lawmakers and staffers would be permitted to see the report and whether the DOJ would "work with the committee to gain access to secret grand-jury material." However, per the AP, there was no agreement on any of those points.
  • The Washington Post has more from Boyd's Tuesday night letter, which argued that while the DOJ tried to compromise, the committee "has responded to our accommodation efforts by escalating its unreasonable demands. Such unreasonable demands, together with the Committee’s precipitous threat to hold the Attorney General in contempt, are a transparent attempt to short-circuit the constitutionally mandated accommodation process and provoke an unnecessary conflict between our respective branches of government."
  • Nadler's reply to Boyd's initial letter: "This is, of course, not how executive privilege works." The AP elaborates on that, reporting it's unclear how executive privilege could be applied to the report, which has been made public in redacted form. Executive privilege "is the president's power to keep information from the courts, Congress, and the public to protect the confidentiality of the Oval Office decision-making process," it explains.
  • In comments to CNN prior to the vote, Nadler said, "Certainly, it's a constitutional crisis, although I don't like to use that phrase because it's been used for far less dangerous situations. We are in one because the President is disobeying the law, is refusing all information to Congress."
(Read more William Barr stories.)

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