House votes to hold Barr and Ross in contempt

Attorney General William Barr, right, accompanied by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

The vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress is largely symbolic, as President Donald Trump’s DOJ will not act on the request. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo

The House on Wednesday voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for defying congressional subpoenas.

The 230-198 vote was largely along party lines.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said he did “everything in my power to avoid” a contempt vote, but that Barr and Ross forced the matter when “they blatantly obstructed our ability to do congressional oversight” into why Ross tried to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The House vote calls for the Justice Department to prosecute Barr and Ross, which President Trump’s Justice Department won’t do.

Barr and Ross said they “strongly disagree” with any suggestion that they obstructed the congressional investigation.

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