President Trump has asserted executive privilege on all the material in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that House Democrats have demanded in a major escalation of the continuing fight over access to the documents.
The move came as Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee planned a vote on holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt for his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the committee for the unredacted Mueller report and its underlying evidence.
The White House accused the House panel of acting only to damage Mr. Trump politically—calling Mr. Nadler’s actions “unlawful and reckless” and saying they would invoke executive privilege over the papers.
“Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders in a statement.
The dispute centers around the unredacted version of the Mueller report and the underlying evidence—some of which the Justice Department says by law it cannot provide because, in part, it involves grand-jury testimony that is secret. Democrats subpoenaed the material last month—saying that it was necessary for Congress to independently examine the material and the basis for Mr. Mueller’s findings.
.. The Justice Department, in its recommendation to Mr. Trump on executive privilege, said it was necessary to preemptively invoke the privilege to protect the administration’s prerogatives.
In response to the department’s ongoing refusal to provide the documents, the House Judiciary Committee is considering a contempt resolution against Mr. Barr