Trump Threatens to Withhold Census Documents From US Congress

Donald Trump
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The Trump administration is threatening to invoke presidential powers to withhold documents on its efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census, unless House Democrats drop threats to hold two top Trump advisers in contempt of Congress.

In a letter to House of Representatives Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, President Donald Trump‘s Justice Department on Tuesday accused the committee of failing to follow constitutional norms by refusing to negotiate over the scope of census-related materials the committee is seeking to examine.

The letter described as “premature” Cummings’ decision to schedule a committee vote for Wednesday on holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over census-related materials the panel is seeking.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, who signed the letter, said that given the threatened contempt vote, Barr “is now compelled” to ask that Trump “invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials” the committee has subpoenaed.

“I hereby request that the committee hold the subpoenas in abeyance and delay any vote on whether to recommend a citation of contempt,” pending a determination by Trump whether to assert executive privilege, Boyd wrote.

Boyd said the Justice Department had already given the committee 17,000 pages of documents on the census issue and allowed two Justice Department officials to appear for committee interviews.

In a letter to Cummings on Tuesday, Oversight Committee Republicans supported the administration’s position, accusing Democrats of violating committee rules and “cherry-picking facts to create false narratives and peddling conspiracy theories.”

In a statement, Cummings said his panel would still vote on Wednesday on holding Ross and Barr in contempt and condemned the administration for having “delayed, stonewalled, obstructed, and challenged the authority of Congress to even ask questions.”

Last week, committee Democrats released a memo alleging that the Trump White House had “interfered directly and aggressively” with an attempt by the panel to interview Kris Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state, about an administration plan to add a citizenship question to the census.

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

Ross has said the question would help enforce the Voting Rights Act, but critics argue it would scare immigrants and Latinos into abstaining, which could disproportionately undercount Democratic-leaning states.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Peter Cooney)

What do you think?

18 pledges
Upvote Downvote
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Carolyn J Mitchell
Carolyn J Mitchell

Someone needs to clarify for me why illegal aliens should be counted on voting/distribution roles since they are not citizens and should not be allowed to vote!?! If they choose not to go through the legal process to become citizens of our country, they should have NO voice in how our country is governed!

Karin Callaway

Secret Campaign? You have got to be kidding me. The President has been talking about this for a year. Of course you all have had your heads in the disruptions, and desperate attempts to disenfranchise our rights to vote for whomever WE choose and it was not your side of the fence. Cummings, Nadler, and Schiff are nothing but pansies, too cheap to do the work for America, and to much confidence in your ability to lie, cheat, and steal elections by having everyone who has ever registered to vote, living or dead, legal or not, and only supposed to… Read more »


Failure to ask the citizenship question allows people illegally in the country to be counted. As I understand it, once counted, their number will be added to the calculation of representatives allotted to each state and the number of electoral college votes allotted to each state. In effect, if an additional elector or representative is added because of the presence of illegal residents, then those people are essentially given representation in political matters of the nation. It is inappropriate for non-citizens to be given this de facto vote.

Terry L
Terry L

The fact is under the CONSTITUTIONAL use of the census the CITIZENSHIP question is REQUIRED since it is supposed to ONLY be about determining a states representation in congress and electoral vote count.

Since FOREIGN NATIONALS are not supposed to be REPRESENTED in our government only US citizens are the question about if someone is a US citizen is REQUIRED for an ACCURATE count of the number of US CITIZENS living in a state for the purpose of that calculation.


Good! Surprise the libs when the Supreme Court 5-4 decide it’s legal to ask if someone is a scum bag illegal or a descent citizen!


It seems that the entire Democrat party has turned into nothing but a bunch of paranoid schizophrenics. EVERYTHING causes them to be scared….and I guess they should because all the have to offer is psychobabble talk, and NO action on anything productive. They have degenerated into a group of aimless wanderers with no goal other than to obstruct and impeach the President. The are proving to the world that they are nothing more than a group of misfits, malcontented, sniveling brats.

Gary A Adler

Its not adding the citizen ship question. It is restoring it after Obama had it removed.


I wonder, though it won’t happen, what Elijah would invoke if called to testify about his wife’s shady dealings. He’d likely just say ‘I marched with Dr. King’
as if that is exoneration for any future crimes and misdemeanors. Charley Rangel got away with a slap on the wrist for cheating on taxes on offshore realty.
Most of us would have been doing time.

US House Approves Authority to Sue Trump Advisers Who Ignore Subpoenas

Trump and Kim One Year On: A ‘Beautiful Letter,’ Stalled Diplomacy