Trump asserts executive privilege over Mueller report
The House Judiciary Committee is voting right now on whether it will hold Attorney General William Bar in contempt of Congress after the Justice Department declined to provide an unredacted version of the Mueller report to Congress.
This marks the first time that House Democrats are moving to punish a Trump administration official for defying a congressional subpoena and represents a dramatic escalation in tensions between Democrats and the White House.
The House Judiciary Committee has adopted an amendment from chairman Jerry Nadler adding a section to the contempt report that responds to President Trump's assertion of executive privilege.
The amendment passed along party lines.
Why this matters: Earlier today, the Justice Department informed Nadler that the “President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials."
What happens next: The committee is now in recess until 2:30 p.m. ET, when Nadler said they would resume the markup.
Moments after the White House announced President Trump would assert executive privilege over special counsel Robert Mueller's report, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders slammed House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, whom she said is seeking to “break the law” with his requests for the unredacted report.
She attacked Nadler’s understanding of the law, saying that she feels she “(understands) it better than he does.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was just asked how the invocation of executive privilege affects the President's position on special counsel Robert Mueller testifying and if Mueller’s employment with DOJ might be extended under the circumstances.
She said she wasn’t aware of anything new on that.
Some context: On Sunday, President Trump reversed course and said Mueller should not testify before Congress. That remark came just two days after he told reporters that the attorney general should make that decision.
“The President’s made his feelings on that very clear,” Sanders said today. “This is over, and just because the Democrats didn’t like the result doesn’t mean they get to redo this process."
The special counsel’s office would not comment when CNN asked if his employment is being extended under the circumstances.
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.