White House invokes executive privilege to block un-redacted report
WASHINGTON: The White House on Wednesday invoked the legal principle of executive privilege to block the release of the un-redacted Mueller report on Russian election meddling.
This move escalated a constitutional clash between the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and Republican President Donald Trump over its powers to investigate him, his administration, his family and his business interests.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said Mr Trump's moves to thwart subpoenas were obstructing oversight by lawmakers and inquiries into Russian interference to boost Trump's candidacy in the 2016 US election.
"Every single day the President is making the case. He's becoming self-impeachable," Ms Pelosi told the Washington Post, referring to the impeachment process in Congress to remove a President from office.
She saidAttorney-General William Barr should be held in contempt of Congress.
Mr Barr last month released a redacted, 448-page version of Mr Mueller's report on the findings of his 22-month inquiry.
He has refused to comply with a subpoena by the House Judiciary Committee for an un-redacted version and its underlying evidence.
Executive privilege is sometimes claimed by US presidents to keep other branches of government from getting access to certain internal executive branch information.
Democrats said the Trump administration waived executive privilege when it allowed some senior Trump advisers, including former White House Counsel Don McGahn, to talk to Mr Mueller's team during the investigation.
The Justice Department said allowing such cooperation did not mean the administration relinquished the right to assert executive privilege now.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the White House was misapplying executive privilege in "a clear escalation in the Trump administration's blanket defiance of Congress's constitutionally mandated duties," adding that neither Mr Barr nor Mr Trump should be permitted to be "above the law".- REUTERS
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