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 BarrThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces Correctional officers subpoenaed in Epstein investigation: report Nadler asks other House chairs to provide records that would help panel in making impeachment decision MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossTrump administration announces deal to avert tariffs on Mexican tomatoes Huawei grappling with 'live or die moment,' founder says Ex-counterintelligence official warns Trump administration not to be shortsighted on Huawei 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.


“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 JordanDemocratic Women's Caucus calls for investigation into Epstein plea deal DOJ releases notes from official Bruce Ohr's Russia probe interviews CNN slams GOP for not appearing on network after mass shootings, conservatives fire back 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.”