House Democrats on Wednesday voted to find Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with their subpoena for the unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The vote, held in the House Judiciary Committee was along partisan lines – 22 Democrats versus 12 Republicans – and came after Barr declined to appear before the panel at a hearing last week.
The matter now goes before the full House chamber for a vote, where Democrats hold a 38-seat majority.
The White House moved to pre-empt the vote by invoking executive privilege over the Democrats demands.
President Donald Trump has asserted executive privilege over special counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted report.
Faced with “blatant abuse of power” by Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the president “has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,” the White House said Tuesday.
The committee vote and Trump’s assertion of privilege represents a major escalation of the battle between congressional Democrats and Trump. It will likely lead to a protracted legal war over Mueller’s 448-page report on alleged obstruction of justice by the president and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.