House panel accuses Barr of contempt as Trump invokes executive privilege

White House tells former counsel McGahn not to comply with subpoena

The White House has made a decision to exert "executive privilege" over the unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian collusion after House Democrats moved forward with a vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress.

The judiciary committee voted 24-16 along party lines on Wednesday to refer a contempt citation against the attorney general for a full House vote.

A blockbuster report by The New York Times on Tuesday revealed that during a ten year period in the late 80s and early 90s, Trump reported over $1 billion in business losses and used it to avoid paying any income tax for eight of those years.

In a statement, the White House blamed the decision on House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep.

Indeed, Barr formally requested that Trump assert executive privilege.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee that McGahn does not have the legal right to comply with its subpoena for 36 types of documents - most relating to Mueller's almost two-year probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In an interview with CNN, Mr Nadler said Mr Trump "wants to make himself a king, and Congress can not permit that". They subpoenaed the redacted materials, but Mr. Barr missed two deadlines to turn it over.

A contempt vote against Barr would head to the full House for a vote.

Pelosi also had a message for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday: "The case is not closed".

Sessions, who is entertaining the possibility of running once more for Senate in his home state of Alabama, praised William Barr, his successor at the Department of Justice, and portrayed the clash between the executive and legislative branches as nothing new.

The committee's vote was likely to trigger a court battle, with fines and possible imprisonment at stake for Barr.




He said what the online letter signed by hundreds of former prosecutors stands for is the idea that if any American other than the president had committed the acts detailed in the Mueller report, there would be enough evidence to indict them for obstruction of justice.

The White House said Democrats forced the move.

Executive privilege is a right claimed by presidents to withhold information about internal executive branch deliberations from other branches of government.

The official further disagreed with Nadler's assertion that the President waived executive privilege by providing materials to Mueller in the first place, saying there is past precedent for providing materials to law enforcement.

And Pelosi again argued that Trump is obstructing justice, pointing to the White House refusing to comply with subpoenas.

The report said President Donald Trump directed McGahn to tell Department of Justice officials to remove Mueller for conflicts of interest and then pressured McGahn to dispute press reports about the episode.

Sen. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican who is running for re-election, said the desire by Democrats to have Mueller testify is "pure political theater" and he opposes "giving them another stage to perform on".

When the House was controlled by Republicans, it voted in 2012 to hold Eric Holder, attorney general under Democratic President Barack Obama, in contempt for failing to turn over subpoenaed Justice Department documents about a gun-running investigation called Operation Fast and Furious. The resolution could receive a vote on the House floor within weeks.

The Mueller report, released last month, did not find that the Trump campaign conspired with Russian Federation to influence the election. She noted that Democrats have refused to read the version of Mueller's report with fewer redactions that has been provided to Congress.

The Justice Department has insisted it can not turn over the complete Mueller report because the confidential grand jury information is protected under federal law.

Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee May 1 in Washington, DC.

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