The Justice Department announced Wednesday that President Trump would assert executive privilege over the full, unredacted Mueller report and its underlying evidence, making good on an earlier threat that the DOJ would do so if House Democrats held the attorney general in contempt.
Former White House Counsel Don McGahn on Tuesday was ordered by the current White House counsel to not comply with a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee in the Trump administration's latest attempt to obstruct justice.
The claim would allow Trump to block those materials from Congress.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that, at the Attorney General's request, Mr Trump has made a "protective assertion of executive privilege", blocking access to the full Mueller report. "When a President is allowed to violate the law with impunity, and when a foreign power is allowed to interfere in our elections, it gnaws at the roots of the great oak that is our democracy, and could very well topple it". It also described actions that Trump took to try to impede Mueller's investigation.
The House Ways and Means Committee is taking a different approach.
There is no way to proceed now, for House Democrats, other than by engaging in a legal battle against the Department of Justice to obtain copies of the unredacted report.
"The president. wants to goad us into impeachment", Pelosi told the Post. In 2012, a Republican-controlled Congress voted to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents.
But, in her letter to Barr, Klobuchar requested the specific "contexts" in which past prosecutors had declined to pursue the charges. A president can assert executive privilege to withhold information concerning internal executive branch deliberations.
"The American people see through chairman Nadler's desperate ploy to distract from the president's historically successful agenda and our booming economy".
McGahn emerged as a star witness in the Mueller report, a senior confidante who documented in real-time Trump's rage against the Russian Federation investigation and efforts to shut it down.
House Democratic leaders, including Pelosi, have worked to tamp down talk of impeachment for months.
But the immediate ramifications of the vote were largely symbolic - and unlikely to change the fraught negotiations over the special counsel's report or Barr's fate as attorney general. "What a cynical, mean-spirited, counterproductive and irresponsible step", said Doug Collins, the committee's top Republican. Democrats strongly voted for the motion and Republicans vehemently objected.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee that McGahn does not have the legal right to comply with its subpoena for 36 types of documents - most relating to Mueller's almost two-year probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
He said that Trump gave McGahn permission to be interrogated by the bureau and the special counsel, leaving the subject matter of those conversations outside the realm of executive privilege going forward. Following the end of Mueller's investigation, Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute an obstruction case.
The California Democrat mentioned the article of impeachment used against President Richard Nixon on Tuesday and Wednesday.
But veterans of past fights between Congress and the executive branch don't seem to hold out any hope that bipartisan cooperation from Congress will compel the Administration to cooperate.