DOJ to Congress: Back off contempt process, or Barr will ask Trump to shield census documents

“In the face of this threatened contempt vote, the Attorney General is now compelled to request that the President invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena to the Attorney General and the subpoena to the Secretary of the Department of Commerce,” Boyd wrote. “I hereby request that the Committee hold the subpoenas in abeyance and delay any vote on whether to recommend a citation of contempt for noncompliance with the subpoenas, pending the President’s determination of this question.”

Boyd added that if the committee rejected the request, the department would “be forced to reevaluate its current production efforts in ongoing matters.” He requested that the committee respond by 5 p.m. Tuesday and noted that the president had not yet asserted executive privilege to protect the documents from disclosure.

Later Tuesday, Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) responded in a letter that because the department had made “no commitments to provide any portion of the critical documents required by the subpoena,” he would not postpone the contempt vote.