Trump administration directs officials to defy congressional subpoenas
President Donald Trump. Photo by Shealah Craighead via the White House and Wikimedia Commons.
Another Trump administration official is refusing to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, despite a congressional subpoena and possible contempt charges. President Donald Trump also challenged the committee earlier this week.
On Monday, Trump filed a lawsuit against Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the committee, to block a subpoena sent last week seeking information about his finances.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter sent to the committee Wednesday that John Gore, the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, will not appear at the deposition scheduled for Thursday. Gore was subpoenaed to discuss his role in the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, report the Washington Post and Bloomberg.
Boyd said Gore would not comply with the subpoena at the direction of U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the Washington Post says.
He also said in the letter that Gore would not appear for the deposition as long as Cummings refuses to allow a DOJ attorney to join him, according to the Washington Post. Gore could be held in contempt if he fails to appear.
The investigation regarding the census is important to Democrats, who say a question about citizenship could lead to an undercount of about 6.5 million people in areas with large Latino and immigrant populations, the Washington Post says. The U.S. Supreme Court is also considering a challenge to the Trump administration’s plan to change the census.
Trump told the Washington Post in an earlier interview that he opposes White House aides testifying before congressional panels. He said it was unnecessary since the White House cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
On Tuesday, the White House blocked Carl Kline, the former director of White House personnel security, from testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform about the security clearance process. Cummings has said Kline will be held in contempt.
Trump also called the House Judiciary Committee’s Monday subpoena of his former White House counsel Don McGahn as part of its investigation into obstruction of justice “ridiculous,” CNN reports. He vowed to fight “all the subpoenas.”
ABA Journal: “The executive branch pushes the boundaries of the separation of powers”
ABAJournal.com: “Judge blocks citizenship question on 2020 census, cites ‘veritable smorgasbord’ of violations”
ABAJournal.com: “Second federal judge blocks census citizenship question in a broader ruling than the first”