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US. Department of Justice Office of Legislative Aftairs ‘ee of the Asistant Attorney General Washington, D.C. 20530 June 12, 2019 ‘The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings Chaieman Comittee on Oversight and Reform US. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Dear Chairman Cummings: ‘Yesterday, the Department of Justice (Department) requested that Committee on Oversight and Reform (Committee) postpone today’s scheduled vote recommending a resolution citing the Attomey General and the Secretary of Commerce for contempt, and permit the accommodation process to continue, We received your response shortly before 7:30 pam, last night in which you declined our request that you hold the subpoenas in abeyance and delay any vote on whether to recommend citation of contempt for noncompliance with the subpoenas, pending the President's determination of an assertion of executive privilege. ‘You offered the Department until 9:00 pam. lastnight to agree to produce, by today, uunredacted copies of the priority documents identified in tems 1 and 2 of the schedules forthe subpoenas. But the Department has explained tothe Commitee on several occasions that these identified documents consis of attomey-client communications, attorney work product, and deliberative communications anda federal court has already held many of these documents to be privileged in litigation. The Committe has made no effort to square its demands with these established confidentiality interests, or the parallel privileges that were already upheld by a federal judge. ‘While the Department is currently unable to produce these privileged materials, the Department has made ongoing and continued effons toward accommodation. Specifically, the Department as offered to make John Gore available for an additional interview, so long as he may be accompanied by Department counsel, and to continue to produce tens of thousands of additional pages of documents we have identified as responsive tothe subpoena. Contrary to the ‘Commitice’s characterization of the Department's document productions to date, these submissions have included non-public, internal communications—including a number of emails that were introduced by Committe statT as exhibits inthe recent transcribed interview of a ‘Counselor to the Attorney General. Further, the additional documents the Department had been ‘planning to produce would have included similar communications. Nonetheless, we understand ‘The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings Page Two ‘that our counteroffer towards accommodation hs not been accepted, and thatthe Committee will accept nothing but obviously privileged materials. We regret thatthe Committe has elected 1 proceed in this fashion, BBy proceeding with today’s vote, you have abandoned the accommodation process with respect to your requests and subpoenas for documents conceming the Secretary's decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The Executive Branch has engaged in good- faith efforts to satisty the legislative needs ofthe Committee, Moreover, until the Committee's “abrupt decision to seek a contempt resolution, the Department was prepared to provide a significant number of additonal documents responsive to the Committee's April 2, 2019 subpoena. Unfortunately, rather than allowing the Department to complete its document production, you have chosen to go forward with an unnecessary and premature contempt vote Accordingly, this letter isto advise you that the President has asserted executive privilege ‘over certain subpoenaed documents identified by the Committe in its June 3,2019 letters to the ‘Attorney General and the Secretary specifically, the documents listed in item I of the schedules foreach of the subpoenas, as wel as drafts of the Department's December 12,2017 lester to the US. Census Bureau. These documents are protected from disclosure by the deliberative process, attomey-client communications, or attomey work product components of executive privilege. In addition, the President has made a protective assertion of executive privilege over the remainder ‘of the subpoenaed documents. As Indicated in my leterto you yesterday, this protective ‘assertion ensures the President's ability to make a final decision whether to assert privilege following a fll review of these materials. See Letter for the President, fom Willian P, Bart, ‘Attomey General at I-2 (May 8, 2019); Protective Assertion of Executive Privilege Regarding White House Counsel’s Office Documents, 20 Op. O.L.C. I (1996) (opinion of Attomey General Janet Reno). Regrettably, you have made these assertions necessary by your i scheduling a premature contempt vote. ly yours, E.Boyd sistant Attorney General Enclosure ‘ce: ‘The Honorable Jim Jordan ‘Ranking Member The Attorney General Washington, DC. June 11,2019 ‘The President ‘The White House Washington, D.C. 20500 ‘Dear Mr. President, ‘The Secretary of Commerce and [are requesting that you assert executive privilege with respect to documents responsive to a subpoena served on the Department of Justice and a ‘subpoena served on the Department of Commerce by the Committee on Oversight and Reform of the United States House of Representatives (“Committe”) on April 2,2019. The subpoenas ‘elate to the Committee's investigation into the Secretary's decision to include a citizenship ‘question on the 2020 decennial census questionnaire, The Committe has scheduled a mecting for June 12,2019, to vote on a resolution holding the Secretary and me in contempt of Congress for fling to comply with the subpoenas. This letter formally requests you assert executive privilege and explains the legal basis for such an asserton.! On December 12,2017, the General Counsel ofthe Justice Management Division sent 2 letter to the U.S. Census Bureau requesting the reinstatement of a question regarding citizenship ‘onthe 2020 decennial census questionnaire, The letter stated that citizenship data is ertical 1 the Department of Justice's enforeement ofthe Voting Rights Act and is protections against racial discrimination in voting. The Department explained ta, to enforce the Act's requirements, it neds a reliable calculation of the ctizenvoting-age population in localities ‘where voting rights violation are alleged or suspected, and thatthe census i the most ppropriate vehicle for collecting that data. Approximately three months later, on March 26, 2018, the Secretary announced that he was reinstating a itizenship question onthe eensus in response to the Departments request On January 8, 2019, the Committee sent a letter tothe Secretary requesting an extremely broad set of documents regarding the Seeretary’sdevsion to include the citizenship question on the census questionnaite. On February 12,2019, the Cammitts sent a leer tothe Acting Attomey General requesting similar documents regarding the Department of Justice's role in that decision, The Depariments promptly began producing thousands of responsive documents tothe (Commitee ona rolling basis, and made multiple witnesses available for interviews, ‘The Secretary of Commeroehas made parle equet. See Latter for he President, from Wilbur Ros, Secretary, Department of Commerc (June U1, 2019)