House Panel Weighs Holding Trump Cabinet Members in Contempt Over Census

Census

The U.S. House Oversight Committee plans to vote next week on holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for stonewalling a probe into an alleged scheme to politicize the 2020 U.S. Census.

On Friday, the committee’s majority Democrats released a memo alleging that the White House “interfered directly and aggressively” with an attempt by the panel to interview Kris Kobach, a former Kansas Secretary of State, about a plan by President Donald Trump‘s administration to add a question on citizenship to next year’s U.S. Census questionnaire.

“These aggressive efforts by the White House to block Mr. Kobach from cooperating with the Committee raise significant new questions about what the Trump Administration is concealing – and why,” the committee’s chairman, Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, said in a statement.

The House of Representatives committee’s Democrats said they scheduled next week’s contempt vote after both Ross and Barr did not produce documents about the issue in response to a bipartisan subpoena the panel issued more than two months ago.

The White House had no immediate comment. Kobach did not immediately respond to a query sent to his political website.

A committee announcement said the contempt vote would initiate civil litigation to force compliance with its subpoena.

Oversight Committee Republicans criticized the Democrats’ moves, accusing Democrats of “cherry-picking facts.”

“Kris Kobach’s testimony shows that he was a peripheral and inconsequential player in the decision-making process and that the Department of Commerce did not rely on Kobach in making its decision. The Democrats also mischaracterized the White House’s involvement in the interview,” a Republican committee spokesman said.

In a memo providing details of a June 3 interview with Kobach, committee Democrats said that he limited his cooperation under White House orders, but did provide fresh information.

The committee said it interviewed Kobach in part to try to determine how the Trump administration devised its plan to question census respondents about their citizenship. The committee said Ross testified that he added the question “solely” at the request of the Justice Department.

However, the committee said documents showed that Ross “began a secret campaign” to add the citizenship question to the census questionnaire shortly after taking office and months before being asked to do so by the Justice Department.

The committee said documents and testimony also showed that discussions between Kobach and Ross were “orchestrated” by former presidential adviser Steve Bannon.

A Commerce Department spokesperson said in a statement that Ross testified truthfully before the panel. “It is clear that no matter how much the department cooperates and provides information in good faith, the committee will lie about the facts,” the statement said.

The committee said Kobach confirmed to its staffers that days after Trump’s inauguration, he met with top White House officials, including Bannon and Trump himself, to discuss adding the citizenship question to the census.

The committee said Kobach acknowledged raising the issue during the 2016 presidential campaign, during which he was an “informal” adviser to Trump.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and James Dalgleish)

Responses

  1. why shouldn’t hey have to answer that question, this cracks me up the lengths these UNITED STATES Congressmen and women will go to, to protect people here illegally but could care less about the millions who come here legally spending thousands of dollars to be citizens, and those born here. They’re here illegally, how about stop protecting them and start serving the citizens of this country..

  2. I see no problem with asking if the person answering the census, is a legal or illegal resident. Whether or not that person has a job, is involved in their community, uses public transportation and other municipal services, The Govt and The People have a right to know how many illegal immigrants are living in their communities. Illegal immigrants or illegal residents are not property owners, therefore, knowing how many children are attending public schools that are not legal residents, will help determine how much of tax payer money is being used to educate illegal children, and how much of our tax payer funded social and welfare services are going towards legal and illegal residents. We have a right to know how heavy a burden we are forced to carry by illegal residents. As far as holding Barr in contempt, this is just another move by Democrats to put a false negative pall over the Trump administration.

  3. may I join the discussion… If permanent residents work and earns a living in the USA, they are paying taxes and use the public facilities such as public transportation, public education, public services like libraries, garbage collection and immunization programs. They can participate recreational activities, volunteer in neighborhood events. They are protected by the police force and firefighters in their community. They can also enroll and serve in the various armed forces that protect our nation. So why should they not have a right to be counted as members of their community?

  4. If permanent residents work and earns a living in the USA, they are paying taxes and use the public facilities such as public transportation, public education, public services like libraries, garbage collection and immunization programs. They can participate recreational activities, volunteer in neighborhood events. They are protected by the police force and firefighters in their community. They can also enroll and serve in the various armed forces that protect our nation. So why should they not have a right to be counted as members of their community?

  5. The Democrats can’t win their claim that the government can’t legally count how many citizens and non-citizens live in our country, so they try to smear the Republicans on why they want that count. Same as they can’t show any actual obstruction of the Mueller investigation, so they try to claim that Trump “wanted’ to obstruct.

  6. More contempt? More impeachment? Damn Dumbocrats surely are desperate aren’t they?

  7. I do not understand how anything can be wrong with wanting to know how many of the people that are living in the U.S. are citizens.Back in 1979 when I joined the USAF I had to be a native born citizen to get my Top Secret clearance so that I could work with nuclear weapons.I was far from offended I was proud that I was going to be able to help provide the defense that my country deserved.I do not understand what is happening to our country when people are more worried about illegal immigrants than our own people.I traveled overseas a lot during my military career but when people would ask our nationality we just said American 1except in Australia where we were just Yanks.

  8. Who can get anything done with this people?

  9. Of course they are. What else would freakin’ house obstructionists do?

  10. Amazes me how much they Oppose supporting our constitution they would rather support illegals then support American citizens

  11. The US 10 year census is to determine how our resources are to be spent and how many legislators each area should have to support the voting citizens in each area. Illegals are not allowed to be a voting citizen in the Federal elections.
    Is that too hard to understand? If legislators do not like or laws, then change them legally.

    1. The Constitution specifies “persons” because the founding fathers knew, even back then, that there are more people living in our country LEGALLY beyond just our citizens. We need everyone to be counted so that cities and towns can fund education, fire departments and police forces etc., properly and that won’t happen accurately if such a question is added to the census, and this was deliberately planned by the Republicans.

      A lot of you seem confused and blinded by biggoted GOP tactics.

  12. There should be a question on citizenship. Illegals shouldn’t determine how many representatives a state gets to go to Congress only citizens.

    1. A non-citizen is not an illegal. Different things entirely.

      1. You’re right but they should not be counted as citizens. They can live & work here but they, non-citizens, are not allowed to vote or be added to our representative government.

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