President Trump issued a warning to House Democrats Thursday following a committee vote to hold Attorney General Bill Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in contempt, blasting the move and vowing “Republicans will remember!” And in an early-morning Twitter tear, he went on to complain that Democrats are “accomplishing nothing for the people” and charge: “They have gone absolutely ‘Loco,’ or Unhinged, as they like to say!”
Trump claimed that Republicans did not go this far when they controlled the House — though they did pursue contempt against former Attorney General Eric Holder — and alleged the contempt vote is all part of a Democratic campaign strategy going into the 2020 election.
“Dems play a much tougher game than the Republicans did when they had the House Majority. Republicans will remember!” Trump tweeted. He then quoted attorney David Bruno, who stated that this was part of a tactic shared by all of the House committees.
“Do whatever you can to embarrass the Trump Administration (and Republicans), attack the Trump administration,” Trump quoted Bruno as saying. “This is campaigning by the Dems.” The contempt vote against Barr and Ross pertained to the claim that they withheld documents related to the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Shortly before the vote, the president moved to lock down the files. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., that Trump was asserting executive privilege over these materials, and that the Department of Justice is acting in good faith within that context.
The vote by the House Oversight Committee was 25-14 in favor of contempt, with Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., joining Democrats. The full House would still have to vote in order for Barr and Ross to be held in contempt of Congress. Litigation surrounding the census citizenship question is ongoing, with the Supreme Court expected to rule on it this month. Three federal district courts previously ruled against it.
Those opposed to the citizenship question believe it would dissuade immigrants from participating in the census, thus skewing population figures that would result in states with immigrant-heavy populations receiving less federal funding, as well as affecting congressional representation by skewing population figures used in drawing legislative districts. The Trump administration claims that question is necessary for them to collect information to be used to ensure proper enforcement and compliance with the Voting Rights Act.