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President invokes Executive Privilege over Mueller Report

Update: House Chairman Nadler says it's a "blanket defiance" of Congress"

May 08, 2019 - 9:42 am
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report:

10:40 a.m.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says President Donald Trump's assertion of executive privilege over special counsel Robert Mueller's report is a clear escalation of his administration's "blanket defiance" of Congress.

Nadler made the comments ahead of a committee vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. The committee is moving to hold Barr in contempt after the Justice Department rejected House Democrats' demands for a fuller version of Mueller's report and other documents.

Executive privilege is the president's power to keep information from the courts, Congress and the public to protect the confidentiality of the Oval Office decision-making process. Asserting privilege would allow Trump to withhold the Mueller materials from Congress.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump had to assert privilege due to Nadler's "blatant abuse of power."

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10:35 a.m.

The Justice Department says President Donald Trump has exerted executive privilege over the full Mueller report and other investigative records that had been subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd says Wednesday that the Justice Department is also ending its negotiations with the committee.

Boyd says the committee's chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, scheduled an "unnecessary contempt vote."

Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of Mueller's report to the public last month, but Democrats want to see the full document, along with underlying evidence.

The Justice Department has rejected that demand, but allowed a handful of congressional leaders to view a less redacted version.

9:30 a.m.

CBS News has learned President Donald Trump has asserted Executive Privilege over the entire Mueller Report and underlying documents. The move comes as the House Judiciary Committee votes whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide special counsel Robert Mueller's entire unredacted report.

The White House released the following statement:

Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Executive Privilege
May 8, 2019

"The American people see through Chairman Nadler's desperate ploy to distract from the President's historically successful agenda and our booming economy. Neither the White House nor Attorney General Barr will comply with Chairman Nadler's unlawful and reckless demands.

The Attorney General has been transparent and accommodating throughout this process, including by releasing the no-collusion, no-conspiracy, no-obstruction Mueller Report to the public and offering to testify before the Committee. These attempts to work with the Committee have been flatly rejected. They didn't like the results of the report, and now they want a redo.

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.

It is sad that Chairman Nadler is only interested in pandering to the press and pleasing his radical left constituency. The American people deserve a Congress that is focused on solving real problems like the crisis at the border, high prescription drug prices, our country's crumbling infrastructure, and so much more."

8:50 a.m.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler says there's a "constitutional crisis" over the Trump administration's refusal to provide Congress with a fuller copy of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on his Russia investigation.

The New York Democrat told CNN on Wednesday the committee will move forward with a Wednesday morning vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with the panel's subpoena for a fuller copy.

Talks between the Judiciary Committee and the Justice Department failed to reach an agreement Tuesday on releasing more of the report to a broader group of lawmakers on the Judiciary and Intelligence committees. The Justice Department indicated the White House might invoke executive privilege to block the release.

Nadler told CNN the country faced "a constitutional crisis" because "the president is disobeying the law, is refusing all information to Congress."

He said he had hoped the administration would change course ahead of Wednesday's scheduled vote.

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12:38 a.m.

The House Judiciary Committee is moving ahead with a vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after last-minute negotiations stalled with the Justice Department over access to the full, unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Barr released a redacted version of Mueller's report to the public last month, but Democrats want to see the full document, along with underlying evidence. The Justice Department has rejected that demand, while allowing a handful of lawmakers to view a less redacted version.

Staff members from the House Judiciary Committee met with Justice Department officials Tuesday afternoon and into the night without reaching a compromise. But the committee's chairman, New York congressman Jerrold Nadler, says a vote is still scheduled for Wednesday.