By Laura Jarrett and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
President Donald Trump has invoked executive privilege over special counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted report and the underlying evidence just before the House Judiciary Committee is set to vote on holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoena for the materials.
The Justice Department informed House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler Wednesday morning in a letter that the “President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials.”
While this is only a “protective assertion” of executive privilege, according to the letter, it is a dramatic escalation in the ongoing battle between the Department of Justice and Democrats on Capitol Hill after negotiations over the report went nowhere for weeks.
“Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.