Prior to a vote to hold Attorney General William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress, Rep. John Sarbanes said Wednesday the Department of Justice is “exaggerating” the amount of information they have provided about a potential census citizenship question.
CNN’s Kate Bolduan asked the Maryland Democrat whether their contempt vote is “premature” because DOJ claims they’re “trying to work with the committee on the documents” and have already provided 14,000 documents.
Mr. Sarbanes rebuked those claims and said the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on which he serves, has been “basically stonewalled.”
“They’re certainly exaggerating if they’re suggesting that they’ve cooperated and tried to provide the information that we’ve asked for. The reason we’re making this move is because they basically stonewalled,” he said.
“The documents that they’ve turned over have not been responsive at all. It’s not the number of documents necessarily it’s whether they’re meaningful and actually address the committee’s request. That has not happened here.” Mr. Sarbanes said.
“We don’t want to move forward in this way, but we feel compelled to do it because the administration has not been responsive,” he said.
The Trump administration asserted executive privilege over documents regarding a proposed citizenship question being added to the 2020 census minutes before the House Oversight committee could subpoena the materials.
Democrats have argued the question will scare both legal and illegal Hispanic residents from replying to the Census and lead to an inaccurate count.
A decision on the legality of the question is expected to be handed down by the Supreme Court before the end of June.
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