Trump asserts executive privilege over 2020 census documents sought by Democrats – live
Version 7 of 21.
Here’s how things stand at lunchtime today:
Donald Trump exerted executive privilege over a suite of documents relating to the 2020 US census. The move led house democrats to postpone a contempt vote against Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Trump met with Polish president Andrzej Duda and announced he was considering moving an additional US troops to Poland.
Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, made a brief appearance at a closed door Senate Intelligence hearing. He told reporters afterwards he has no fear of a perjury investigation following his appearance.
Trump is scheduled for another appearance with his Polish counterpart later today at the White House Rose Garden.
There were a few lines to digest from that impromptu presser. But sticking with today’s main news on the 2020 census, Trump responded to a question on his decision to exert executive privilege on Justice Department documents relating to the decision to add a citizenship question.
Trump conceded he was not completely across the issue as it is a “legal matter” but added: “I think when you have a census and you’re not allowed to talk about when someone is a citizens or not, that doesn’t sound very good to me.”
He continued: “I think it’s totally ridiculous that we would have a census that wouldn’t ask it...I think you have the right to ask.”
It’s worth reminding readers here again that the census is not a citizenship test but a measure of the US population. It is a central part of American democracy that plays a pivotal role in determining representation in the US congress.
Trump also confirmed he would meet with Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G20 summit in Osaka. He joked that he may allow reporters into the room this time.
President Trump and his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, have just taken questions from reporters at the White House.
We’ll wait for the full remarks to materialize by the Associated Press reports the top line that Trump says he is considering moving an extra 2,000 troops into Poland from elsewhere in Europe.
The report continues:
Trump is cautioning during an Oval Office meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda that the decision isn’t final.
US officials had said Trump was expected to announce that he was sending about 1,000 additional troops and a squadron of Reaper drones to Poland to aid its self-defense amid concerns about Russian military activity.
Polish leaders have been lobbying for additional forces for months and had hoped for a permanent U.S. base they said could be called “Fort Trump.”
The leaders are scheduled to participate in a “joint signing ceremony” Wednesday before they go to the Rose Garden for a news conference.
It appears the closed door Senate Intelligence committee hearing with the president’s son has finished.
Trump Jr briefly appeared in front of reporters at Capitol Hill. He had been compelled to appear before the committee following publication of the Mueller report, which raised questions about his 2017 testimony to the same committee during which he testified about the now infamous meeting between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential race.
Trump Jr told reporters: “I don’t think I changed anything I said [in prior testimony] because there was nothing to change.”
Responding to a question that asked whether he feared perjury allegations, he responded: “Not at all.”
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway has just been speaking to reporters at the White House. Here are few highlights via the White House pool report:
Conway was asked for comment on the pending supreme court decision on the 2020 census. She said: “I think what’s happening is that people who are worried...that it’s constitutional, in fact, to ask a citizenship question on the US Census, are trying to pregame it and get ahead of that by colluding the coverage and that’s unfortunate.”
Conway took a dig at former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading candidate in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. She referred to the primary contest as “that hot mess” and added it was: “obsessive, weird, and downright goofy that Vice President Biden doesn’t mention President Obama but a few times in his speech, and he mentions President Trump 76 times.”
On the street protests in Hong Kong, Conway said: “obviously we want people to live in peace and prosperity. It was pretty remarkable to see that many people take to the street.” She added it was possible that Trump will address Beijing’s extradition policy with Chinese President Xi when they next meet.
Donald Trump Jr arrived at Capitol Hill a short while earlier for his closed-door hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
He was asked by reporters if he had come to correct his 2017 testimony and responded there was “nothing to correct”.
As we mentioned earlier in the blog, Trump Jr has been compelled to appear before senators after resisting invitations for months. The senators want to discuss answers Trump Jr gave the panel’s staff in a 2017 interview, as well as answers he gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee in a separate interview behind closed doors that year.
Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, told a House committee in February that he had briefed Trump Jr approximately 10 times about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow before the presidential election. But Trump Jr told the judiciary panel he was only “peripherally aware” of the real estate proposal.
For readers who may not have followed the ongoing political battle over these census documents, here’s a bit of important background.
Although these subpoenas may yet shed more important light on the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the real battle over how next year’s census will take shape is actually happening at the supreme court.
Three lower court decisions have found the decision to add the question was unlawful, leading the Trump administration has taken the fight to the supreme court. Arguments in the case were heard in April and the court, now controlled by a conservative majority, is set to hand down a decision by the end of this month. The decision in that case is likely to be the most significant ruling in this court’s term.
The president’s last minute intervention in the wrangle over documents related to the 2020 census has led Democrats to postpone their contempt vote until later today.
Cummings on executive privilege over census docs: "This begs the question. What is being hidden?"
The Trump administration has asserted executive on documents related to the 2020 census. The move was announced just as the House Oversight Committee is about to vote on a motion that would hold Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of congress for failure to disclose the documents.
POTUS has asserted executive privilege on certain docs subpoenaed in Census probe and a protective assertion on all remaining docs, per DOJ letter. pic.twitter.com/L926VMqubt
The documents relate to a decision made by Ross and the Justice Department to insert a citizenship question in the 2020 census, which the census bureau itself acknowledges will reduce participation in the census next year.
The census is a pivotal tenet in American democracy. It dictates the makeup of congressional boundaries. Numerous studies have indicated that including a citizenship question will reduce participation among certain minority communities, which could ultimately benefit Republicans in future elections.
The president has sent his first flurry morning tweets and appears to be particularly irked by a resurfaced report relating to internal polling taken by his re-election campaign.
Last month Politico reported that internal polling suggested Trump’s support was slipping in three key battleground states in the midwest amid rising interest in Joe Biden’s run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The New York Times reported on Monday that, following the leak to Politico, Trump instructed aides to lie about the polls findings.
Now, it seems, Trump is suggesting that the polls never existed in the first place:
.....The Fake (Corrupt) News Media said they had a leak into polling done by my campaign which, by the way and despite the phony and never ending Witch Hunt, are the best numbers WE have ever had. They reported Fake numbers that they made up & don’t even exist. WE WILL WIN AGAIN!
As the day grinds into gear, here’s a little more background on Trump Jr’s expected closed door testimony.
His expected appearance comes after months of wrangling between Republicans and Democrats in the senate. The president’s son had refused to return to the senate, after his appearance in December 2017 but has now been subpoenaed by the Republican controlled committee. His testimony is expected to be limited in time and scope.
CNN first broke the news yesterday and has more background on what Trump is expected to be asked about:
The committee is interested in hearing again from Trump Jr. because of discrepancies between his testimony in 2017 and what other witnesses have told both the committee and the special counsel’s office.
Trump Jr. appeared before the Senate Intelligence, Senate Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees in 2017, and the release of the Mueller report prompted a new round questions about what Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary panel, which released a transcript of his interview.
Trump Jr. testified he only told Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort ahead of time about the Trump Tower meeting in which a Russian attorney promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. But then-campaign deputy Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty in the special counsel probe, told Mueller that Trump Jr. talked about a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation at a campaign meeting in the days before the Trump Tower meeting.
Trump Jr.’s testimony on the Trump Tower Moscow project has also been scrutinized, in which he said he was “peripherally aware” of the project. But Mueller’s report says Cohen testified he discussed the project on multiple occasions with Trump Jr. and that the discussions were not just “idle chit chat.”
Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of US politics today.
Here’s a rundown of events we’ll be covering from Washington and elsewhere around the country:
– Donald Trump Jr, the president’s oldest son, is expected to testify in a closed door hearing before the Senate intelligence committee today. The hearing is expected to be limited in time and scope, and marks his second appearance before the committee after his first one in December 2017.
– President Donald Trump is set to meet the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, at the White House early this afternoon. The pair will take questions at a joint press conference later in the day.
– The attorney general, William Barr, and treasury secretary, Wilbur Ross, face a contempt vote in the House oversight committee today, over their refusal to hand over documents relating to the 2020 census. That vote will happen this morning.
We’ll bring you the news as it happens