The Latest: White House slams contempt vote for officials

Politics

Attorney General William Barr speaks about the census as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross listens during an event with President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the House effort to hold Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

The White House is slamming the Democrat-controlled House’s vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is calling the move “ridiculous and yet another lawless attempt to harass the President and his Administration.”

Grisham says the departments of Justice and Commerce have produced more than 31,000 pages of documents on the issue, and that senior officials from both agencies have spoken on record to address the matter.

The vote is largely symbolic because the Justice Department is unlikely to prosecute Barr and Ross.

Trump last week abandoned his effort to add a citizenship question into the 2020 census after the Supreme Court blocked the move.

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6:35 p.m.

The Democratic-controlled House has voted to hold two top Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The House voted, 230-198, on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt. The vote is largely symbolic because the Justice Department is unlikely to prosecute them.

The action marks an escalation of Democratic efforts to use their House majority to aggressively investigate the inner workings of the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump last week abandoned his bid to inject a citizenship question into the census, after the Supreme Court said the administration’s justification for the question “seems to have been contrived.” Trump directed agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases.

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10:45 a.m.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says a planned vote by the Democratic-controlled House to hold him in contempt of Congress is nothing more than “political theater” intended to embarrass and harass the Trump administration.

Ross tells the Fox Business Network that his department has supplied more than 14,000 pages of documents related to the 2020 census and excluded only about 15 pages that the administration believes are protected under executive privilege.

The House expects to vote Wednesday to hold Ross and Attorney General William Barr in contempt for failing to provide documents related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the census.

President Donald Trump last week abandoned that his effort. He’s directing agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases.

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