The White House hasasserted executive privilegeover the unredacted Mueller report, the Justice Department said in a letter to Democrats Wednesday.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote to Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., that the move allows President Trump “to make a final decision whether to assert privilege following a full review of these materials.”
The move came as House Democratsprepared to hold Attorney General William Barr in contemptfor refusing to turn over the unredacted version of the report to all lawmakers in Congress.
Barr is legally prevented from releasing parts of the report that include classified material, grand jury testimony, or information relating to ongoing probes.
Granting executive privilege girds the Justice Department for a court fight in case the House votes to hold Barr in contempt. It would send the matter to the Justice Department, which tends to reject prosecuting criminal contempt cases when executive privilege is invoked.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders accused Nadler of making "reckless" demands for the unredacted report, parts of which must be concealed by law, and accused Democrats of seeking a "redo" of the Mueller probe, which found no evidence of collusion between Trump's campaigns and the Russians.
Sanders said Nadler has rejected efforts by the Justice Department to negotiate new terms for viewing a less redacted version of the report. "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," Sanders said.
Read the full letter below.