WASHINGTON, July 24 (Xinhua) — The U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday that it will not bring criminal charges against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after the Democrat-led House voted to hold them in contempt last week.
The two officials’ defiance of congressional subpoenas seeking information about the 2020 census “did not constitute a crime,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday.
Citing legal precedents from administration of both parties, Rosen said that the department “will not bring the congressional contempt citations before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute” Barr and Ross.
It was expected that the Justice Department will not prosecute its own chief and another cabinet official.
Earlier this year, the House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoenaed the Justice Department and Commerce Department as part of its investigation into the origins of the efforts to add a citizenship question to the census slated for next year.
Both departments refused to cooperate, and U.S. President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege to block the release of those information.
Last month, the administration backed down from the census fight after an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling.