President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege over the entire Mueller report as the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on whether to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to produce the full, unredacted version of the report.
“This is to advise you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials,” top Justice Department official Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.
“As we have repeatedly explained, the Attorney General could not comply with your subpoena in its current form without violating the law, court rules, and court orders, and without threatening the independence of the Department of Justice’s prosecutorial functions,” Boyd wrote.
According to CNN, Barr asked Trump to exert executive privilege over the report.
“The assertion of privilege was broad — covering all of the underlying materials from Mueller’s investigation, such as reports of interviews and notes of witnesses, as well as the entire, unredacted Mueller report,” The Washington Post reported.
Trump move comes ahead of contempt vote:
Trump’s decision to assert executive privilege came ahead of a Judiciary hearing on a vote to hold Barr in contempt for not releasing the unredacted report.
“In the coming days, I expect that Congress will have no choice but to confront the behavior of this lawless administration,” Nadler said, according to The New York Times. “The committee will also take a hard look at the officials who are enabling this cover-up.”
Nadler says Trump ‘escalating’ situation, may block Mueller testimony:
Nadler said in an interview with CNN Wednesday that he thinks Trump “will try to stop Robert Mueller. Whether he will succeed is another question.”
During Wednesday’s contempt hearing, Nadler called Trump’s move to assert executive privilege an escalation.
“This decision represents a clear escalation in the Trump administration’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated duties,” Nadler said. “As a co-equal branch of government, we must have access to the materials that we need to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities in a manner consistent with past precedent.”
“The president has stated that his Administration will oppose all subpoenas, and, in fact, virtually all document requests are going unsatisfied; witnesses are refusing to show up to hearings,” Nadler warned. “This is unprecedented. If allowed to go unchecked, this obstruction means the end of congressional oversight.”