White House blasts 'shameful and cynical' Barr, Ross contempt vote

The White House on Wednesday evening blasted a House vote to hold Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr: Inspector general's report on alleged FISA abuses 'imminent' DOJ unveils program aimed at reducing gun violence Trump goes on tweeting offensive ahead of public impeachment hearing MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossTrump trade adviser pushes back on reports of US-China tariff deal China, US agree to reduce tariffs amid trade talks, Beijing says Income for poorest Americans fell faster than previously thought: study MORE in contempt as “yet another lawless attempt to harass the President and his Administration.”

“Instead of accepting the numerous good-faith efforts of accommodation the Departments have made, Democrats continue to demand documents that are subject to executive privilege,” Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

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“House Democrats know they have no legal right to these documents, but their shameful and cynical politics know no bounds,” she added.

The White House statement noted that the Justice and Commerce Departments have submitted 31,000 documents to the House relating to the census question, echoing a floor speech by Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanGraham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial Democrats seize on new evidence in first public impeachment hearing House Republicans call impeachment hearing 'boring,' dismiss Taylor testimony as hearsay MORE (R-Ohio) ahead of the vote.

The House voted earlier in the evening 230-198 to hold Barr and Ross in criminal contempt over their defiance of subpoenas relating to investigations into White House efforts add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The Supreme Court has since ruled the White House cannot add the question under the justification provided.

The vote is largely symbolic, as the Justice Department is unlikely to pursue criminal referrals against its top official.

Ross earlier issued a statement calling the vote a “PR stunt.”

“It is an unfortunate fact that there are some who would like nothing more than to see this Administration fail whatever the cost to the country may be,” he said. “Preferring to play political games rather than help lead the country, they have made every attempt to ascribe evil motivations to everyday functions of government.”