Barr’s brazen new dodge: He hopes to blackmail Congress over census info

So many executive orders, so much twitter. What to do? Well, discuss it here for one...

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Barr’s brazen new dodge: He hopes to blackmail Congress over census info

#1 Post by TrueTexan » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:09 pm

More BS from Trump’s Bully Barr.
Several Cabinet department heads in the Trump administration have fought against efforts of congressional oversight in recent weeks. Perhaps none have been so brazen, or so seemingly corrupt, as Attorney General William Barr’s latest move to avoid scrutiny.

On Tuesday, House Democrats passed a civil enforcement resolution that effectively holds Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress. The vote came 24 hours after House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., reversed his planned contempt vote against Barr after reaching a last-minute deal with the Department of Justice to hand over some underlying materials from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. With Tuesday’s vote, congressional committee chairs can now enforce subpoenas in court if their requests go ignored.

Barr responded to Tuesday’s vote by again threatening to withhold documents requested by Congress — but in a totally unrelated case.

The House Oversight Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide documents related to the 2020 census in response to congressional subpoenas. In a blatant attempt to stop this oversight effort, the Justice Department on Tuesday threatened to withhold the documents on its efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, by fair means or foul, unless House Democrats abandon their vote to hold Barr and Ross in contempt.

In a Tuesday letter to Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd demanded that the committee halt the issuing of the subpoenas and delay its contempt vote until Trump makes a determination on the materials the committee wants. Boyd argued that the requested documents are covered by either deliberative process privilege, attorney-client privilege or by the “attorney work product” component of executive privilege.

“The Committee has failed to abide by the constitutionally mandated accommodation process by declining to negotiate over the scope of the subpoenaed materials or to recognize legitimate executive branch interest, as well as by its premature decision to schedule a contempt vote,” Boyd wrote in the letter. In other words, the DOJ’s claim of privilege appears to depend on Cummings’ behavior, not on objective questions of law or fact.

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According to Tuesday’s letter, Barr intends to seek a privilege assertion not just for the DOJ documents, but also for Commerce Department documents covered by the committee’s subpoena.

The requested documents are related to the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which Democrats argue was added to trigger newly drawn congressional districts that would boost Republicans electorally. A report released last week found that the census could undercount more than 4 million people, particularly in Latino and African American communities.

“We gave Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross every opportunity to produce the documents the Committee needs for our investigation, but rather than cooperate, they have decided that they would rather be held in contempt of Congress,” Cummings said in a statement announcing the planned contempt vote.

“They produced none of the documents we asked for, they made no counter-offers regarding these documents, and they seem determined to continue the Trump administration’s cover-up,” he added.

The DOJ’s threat is nothing more than a delay tactic — as evidenced by a similar move Barr pulled with Nadler’s committee — but ironically, the attorney general’s contempt for Congress is shown in his tactics to avoid being formally accused of contempt of Congress.

Barr’s DOJ is no longer even pretending to be an independent, non-political department; still less pretending to respect Congress’ role as a co-equal branch of government with an oversight role.

Barr’s defense against Congress asking him to do his job is to threaten to do even less of his job. His argument against oversight essentially amounts to: “If the House continues to ponder holding me in contempt, I will continue to obstruct justice and perform more contemptuous acts.”

Executive privilege has a role. It is meant to protect the intimate conversations of the president with his advisers and top-level cabinet officials. The Trump administration, with its latest request, is attempting to apply privilege to documents written before Trump even took office. The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in the 1974 U.S. v. Nixon case — which led directly to a president’s resignation — supposedly settled this issue. Assertions of executive privilege beyond the scope of that decision would seem to be blatant obstruction of justice. That’s exactly where we are.
https://www.rawstory.com/2019/06/bill-b ... nsus-info/
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer-Kissinger
Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired.-Swift

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Re: Barr’s brazen new dodge: He hopes to blackmail Congress over census info

#2 Post by TrueTexan » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:10 pm

President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege over internal Justice and Commerce department documents detailing how a citizenship question was added to the 2020 census.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted 24-15 on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt over their refusal to comply with subpoenas for information. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) voted with Democrats to hold the two Trump administration officials in contempt. The contempt citation will now go to the full House for approval.

In a statement, Ross brushed off the vote and accused Democrats of playing politics.

“Today, the Democrats maintained their shameless, weekly attacks on this Administration without consideration for the truth. I don’t even think members of Congress can keep track of which committee is holding a show trial on any given day,” he said. “No matter how much the Department and I cooperate and provide information, the Committee will always twist the facts to suit their own ends.”

The Justice Department threatened earlier this week that they would ask Trump to invoke executive privilege if the committee moved forward with a contempt vote. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee chairman, offered to postpone the vote if the agencies produced certain documents responsive to the subpoenas.

The Justice Department did not accept the offer and instead informed Cummings on Wednesday that Trump was invoking executive privilege. Trump specifically was invoking privilege over emails between Commerce Department and Justice Department officials before the Justice Department formally requested the addition of a citizenship question to the census. Trump also asserted privilege over drafts of the Justice Department’s official December 2017 request as well as a “protective assertion” over all the documents.

The Justice Department formally requested a citizenship question because it said it needed better citizenship data to enforce the Voting Rights Act. Many Democrats and civil rights groups say that is a pretext ― the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 and the decennial census, which goes out to every American household, hasn’t asked about citizenship since 1950. Emails produced in litigation challenging the question show Ross was interested in adding the question long before the Justice Department made its request. Ross solicited the Justice Department to make the request for the citizenship question.

The House Oversight Committee is investigating whether the Trump administration lied about the reason it was adding the citizenship question. Democrats also believe Ross misled and may have even lied to Congress about the way the question was added to the census.

In opening remarks Wednesday, Cummings dismissed the Justice Department’s claims that it had already been forthcoming with the committee. Although the department had produced over 17,000 documents, Cummings said, many of those were already publicly available, heavily redacted, and not responsive to a subpoena.

“This begs the question: What is being hidden?” he said.

It “defies logic” to suggest that the Justice Department didn’t cooperate with the committee, said Kerri Kupec a DOJ spokeswoman.

“Today’s action by Chairman Cummings and his Committee undermines Congress’s credibility with the American people. The Department of Justice has tirelessly worked for months to accommodate the Committee’s requests for information, including producing over 17,000 pages of documents and making senior Department officials available for questioning,” she said in a statement.

The Supreme Court is set to rule on whether the Trump administration lawfully added the question by the end of the month. Republicans on the committee asked Cummings to hold off on the contempt vote until the Supreme Court ruled.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-ce ... 17ef0290a3
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer-Kissinger
Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired.-Swift

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Re: Barr’s brazen new dodge: He hopes to blackmail Congress over census info

#3 Post by K9s » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:29 pm

Yeah, truth is dead. Barr, Trump, Chao, McConnell, and the rest of the grifters have never faced accountability. I doubt they ever will.
The border between civilization and savagery is porous and patrolled by opportunists. Resist fascism. Vote like your democracy depends on it.

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