House Democrats are prepared to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress if they do not comply by Thursday with a subpoena demanding information about the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, POLITICO reports.
“Unfortunately, your actions are part of a pattern,” wrote Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat and chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, in separate letters sent to Barr and Ross.
“The Trump administration has been engaged in one of the most unprecedented cover-ups since Watergate, extending from the White House to multiple federal agencies and departments of the government and across numerous investigations.”
The contempt vote could be reconsidered, according to Cummings, if the two deliver the documents requested by the Thursday deadline.
As The Inquisitr has detailed, digital files belonging to a deceased Republican strategist are shedding light on the Trump administration’s motivation in their attempt to add the census question. The files were those of the now deceased Thomas Hofeller, who did consulting work which helped draw the voting district maps which helped Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in 2010.
The Supreme Court will rule on the matter in the near future after more than a dozen states challenged the legality of adding the citizenship question. Those states contend that the question would, in fact, deter non-citizens from participating in the survey and as a result deliver an inaccurate census. The ensuing undercounting would alter the distribution of funding in affected areas in addition to affecting political districts and, potentially, representation in the U.S. House of Representatives
According to Cummings, the new evidence demonstrates that the real reason for the citizenship question is “to gerrymander congressional districts in overtly racist, partisan, and unconstitutional ways.”
The subpoenas instruct Barr and Ross to submit any emails, memos and other communications with the White House, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign, among others.
Barr's interview is even crazier than you might think. He went full MAGA. https://t.co/W4Mm41LWk1
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) May 31, 2019
“The tactics of this cover-up are now clear,” he said.
“The administration has been challenging Congress’ core authority to conduct oversight under the Constitution, questioning the legislative bases for congressional inquiries, objecting to committee rules and precedents that have been in place for decades.”
Cummings goes on to accuse Barr and Ross of attempting invalid legal arguments to avoid producing documents and evidence as required by Congressional requests.
A spokesperson for the Commerce Department said that 14,000 pages of documents had already been provided to the committee and characterized the threat of a contempt vote as being politically motivated.