The Justice Department said Wednesday it would not file criminal charges against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross following last week’s Democratic-led House vote to hold the pair of top White House officials in contempt.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen stated in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) that Barr and Ross’s refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas regarding information about the 2020 census “did not constitute a crime.” President Donald Trump‘s administration has been famously trying to add a question about United States citizenship to the census but has been blocked by the courts in its efforts.

“[A]ccordingly the department will not bring the congressional contempt citations before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the attorney general or the secretary,” Rosen wrote.


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The House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoenaed both the Justice and Commerce Departments earlier this year as part of its inquiry into the attempt to add the citizenship question to the next census. Both departments defied the subpoenas and declined to provide documents lawmakers requested, while Trump used executive privilege to prevent the materials from being released.

Trump has since backed down from his push to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census, although the effort has reportedly been tested in various states across the country as a way to see how many people respond to the question.


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