Trump asserts executive privilege over Mueller report
The White House now says there will be no press coverage of the President’s cabinet meeting, which was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET.
Typically, coverage is allowed.
The next time we see the President is at 3:25 p.m. ET when he departs for Florida.
Today’s assertion of protective executive privilege over subpoenaed documents has no direct bearing on special counsel Robert Mueller testifying before the House, according to a Department of Justice official.
From a practical standpoint, however, whether a legal battle over the underlying documents affects Mueller’s testimony remains to be seen.
Mueller is tentatively scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on May 15.
The official further disagreed with House Judiciary Chairman Nadler’s assertion that the President waived executive privilege by providing materials to Mueller in the first place, saying there is past precedent for providing materials to law enforcement.
Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat on House Judiciary, told CNN that Democrats should "push back" and start talking more seriously about impeachment.
This comes moments after President Trump asserted executive privilege over the Mueller report.
"Do I think we are inching closer to it? ... Yeah," Rep. Richmond said.
Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said “this is a show” going into the hearing this morning. The hearing was called to vote on whether to find Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress.
Collins said he believes "there is no precedent for the rush we're on right now."
Asked if he thinks this is a constitutional crisis, as Nadler said this morning, he answered:
“I think the only constitutional process here is to the chairman actually trying to make the attorney general go forward on stuff and give him stuff that he knows that he can't give legally. And I think he actually admitted that as well. That he can't legally have that stuff. The constitutional crisis will be a judiciary chairman trying to subpoena documents from the attorney general to force the attorney to give them stuff that he knows he can't have.”
He was also asked about the Justice Department's threat last night to ask President Trump to potentially assert executive privilege (note: he was just before Trump actually asserted that privilege).
"I think the DOJ was just responding to a very unaccommodating chairman. And that’s the way they chose to respond," he said.
Just minutes before the House Judiciary committee hearing on contempt began, the Justice Department told lawmakers that the President had invoked executive privilege over all the materials that Rep. Jerry Nadler had subpoenaed.
"Just minutes ago, it took that dramatic step," Chairman Nadler said at the beginning of the hearing.
Nadler responded by saying the vote would be moving forward, accusing the Justice Department of a "clear escalation" in its defiance . He urged negotiations to continue despite what he described as a "last-minute outburst."
"The Department's decision reflects President Trump's blanket defiance of Congress's constitutionally mandated duties," Nadler said in a statement.
On CNN's "New Day" this morning, Nadler said the United States is in a "constitutional crisis." He added, "We are in one because the President is disobeying the law, is refusing all information to Congress."
In a letter to President Trump, Attorney General Barr asked the President to "make a protective assertion of executive privilege with respect to Department of Justice documents recently subpoenaed" by the House Judiciary Committee.
Here's the first part of his letter:
The Justice Department has informed House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler this morning that the “President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials.”
Here's the letter from the Justice Department: