On Thursday, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) threatened to hold a Justice Department official in contempt if he does not testify before the committee.
In a letter, Cummings accused Attorney General William Barr of “instructing” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Gore “to defy a duly authorized congressional subpoena,” according to The Hill.
Cummings went on to write that the Oversight Committee expects Gore to testify and that if he doesn’t, “the Committee will consider him to be in contempt of Congress.”
The committee wants Gore to testify so that it can ask him about the citizenship question that was added to the 2020 Census. Many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have been pushing for the citizenship question to be included in the Census for a while.
On April 1, the president declared that the “report would be meaningless” without the citizenship question.
Can you believe that the Radical Left Democrats want to do our new and very important Census Report without the all important Citizenship Question. Report would be meaningless and a waste of the $Billions (ridiculous) that it costs to put together!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2019
But Democrats have been fighting back hard trying to keep the question of citizenship off the Census, arguing there’s really no precedent for citizenship to be a question on the Census, as it hasn’t been one for nearly 70 years.
The question of whether the inquiry can be put on the Census now heads to the Supreme Court, which will vote on the notion.
Cummings’ letter to the Justice Department is just the latest in an ongoing showdown between the agency and the Democrats on the Hill. Earlier this week, Barr testified before Congress, but Democrats didn’t really get any of the answers that they were hoping for.
During that hearing, Barr tried to dodge questions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. At one point, he said that he believed that the Trump campaign was spied upon. At another point in the hearing, he said that he doesn’t know if Mueller supported the conclusion that he provided to Congress.