AOC Blasts Trump Officials Over 2020 Census Citizen Question
Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York responded that she wants to know why people like former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — “with a resume of voter suppression techniques in Kansas” — and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon “have their fingerprints all over the census.”
A House panel voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for withholding documents on plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Earlier Wednesday, President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege over the material.
The Oversight and Reform Committee’s 24-15 vote Wednesday for the civil contempt resolution gives Democratic Chairman Elijah Cummings the option to file a lawsuit to enforce the panel’s subpoenas for the documents.
Republican Mark Meadows of North Carolina warned colleagues their vote was “a significant moment in history” in holding two cabinet-level officials in contempt. Cummings said he didn’t disagree.
“Nobody is trying to be harmful to our attorney general. It’s not about him” or the Commerce secretary, said Cummings of Maryland. “It’s about our country.”
“The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility and the authority to ensure that the census is working as it was intended,” Cummings said. “We must protect the integrity of the census, and we must stand up for Congress’ authority under the Constitution to conduct meaningful oversight.”
Congressional Democrats are pursuing what they say is evidence that the Trump administration’s bid to include the citizenship question was designed to suppress the response rate to the census of immigrants and non-citizens. That could reduce some states’ number of congressional seats, Electoral College clout and federal funding.
Before the Oversight panel vote, Trump asserted executive privilege over documents concerning plans to add a citizenship question to the census, including the material sought by the Oversight Committee.
“These documents are protected from disclosure by the deliberative process, attorney-client communications, or attorney work product components of executive privilege,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter Wednesday to Cummings. “In addition, the president has made a protective assertion of executive privilege over the remainder of the subpoenaed documents.”
The move was just the latest effort to stymie and frustrate efforts by House Democrats to investigate actions by the Trump administration.
But the Democratic-controlled House is firing back. The chamber voted Tuesday to authorize a lawsuit against Barr in a separate matter, for refusing to give the Judiciary Committee redacted parts of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The House also approved a speedier process for committee chairmen such as Cummings to file a lawsuit to enforce subpoenas. Under the plan, they would only need to be green-lighted by a panel led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Channel:TicToc by Bloomberg