Nancy Pelosi: 'Trump is goading us to impeach him'

CNN's Chris Cillizza published a fictional article about Trump refusing to leave office after a 2020 defeat

The White House defiantly asserted executive privilege Wednesday and refused to comply with "unlawful and reckless" demands by congressional Democrats to turn over an unredacted version of the special counsel's Russian Federation report.

Throwing down another challenge to Trump, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted to recommend that the full House cite Barr, the top United States law enforcement official and a Trump appointee, for contempt of Congress after he defied its subpoena for the complete report and underlying evidence.

Soon after the announcement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement accusing Nadler of abusing his power and using the report to "distract" from the president's historically successful agenda.

Shortly before the vote began, CBS News' Rebecca Kaplan reported that the president has asserted privilege over the entire Mueller report and underlying documents.

Wednesday's developments come as a battle between House Democrats and the Trump administration intensifies.

Democrats, who hold a majority in the House of Representatives, control the committee and assuming a vote falls along party lines, they will choose to hold Barr in contempt. "The Department's legal arguments are without credibility, merit, or legal or factual basis", Mr Nadler said.

Nadler said Trump's stonewalling of Congress in various investigations is "an assertion of tyrannical power by the president and that can not be allowed to stand".

However, it would send a powerful message to the White House about congressional Democrats' refusal to back down in an increasingly bitter standoff. A president can assert executive privilege to withhold information concerning internal executive branch deliberations.

Earlier this week, Barr missed a deadline set by the panel to turn over the full report along with the underlying evidence.

Senator McConnell says Mueller 'case is closed.'

Holder was the first attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress. House Democrats who've been negotiating with McGahn for his testimony have already considered an option should he refuse to turn over documents and sit in the witness chair. In point of fact, Trump's claim of executive privilege have less to do with royal ambitions than the fact that the executive is a separate and co-equal branch of government answerable to voters, and not operating at the pleasure of Congress.

The Judiciary Committee is seeking to have Mueller testify at a hearing later this month, perhaps as soon as May 15, and has asked former White House Counsel Don McGahn to appear on May 21.

The 448-page Mueller report summed up the results of the special counsel's 22-month long investigation into allegations that Trump's team conspired with Moscow to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and that the U.S. president had obstructed justice. Hundreds of former Justice Department officials said in an open letter released Monday that Trump would face multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice stemming from the Russian Federation investigation if he were not President.

The top Republican on the panel, Doug Collins of Georgia, sharply criticised the Democrats' plan to go ahead with the vote.

Barr has said he had no objection to letting Mueller testify before Congress about his investigation. The Department of Justice cannot maintain that you can't indict a sitting president, but we're not going to give you the evidence that you would need to consider whether to initiate impeachment until you initiated impeachment.

Ms Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement calling it "a stunning act of political cynicism and a brazen violation of the oath we all take".

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