May 8, 2019 10:30 am
Updated: May 8, 2019 3:58 pm

Donald Trump invokes executive privilege over Mueller report

WATCH: Sanders slams Congress over contempt vote against Barr


U.S. President Donald Trump has asserted executive privilege over all materials of the Mueller report subpoenaed by Congress, meaning he has the right to block their release.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement on the decision Wednesday morning, saying it was prompted by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s “reckless demands.”

WATCH: Democrats want to hear directly from Robert Mueller

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“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.

The move, announced by the Justice Department in a letter to Nadler, came just minutes before the panel was poised to vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for defying a congressional subpoena to hand over the full, unredacted report.

READ MORE: House committee to vote on holding Barr in contempt as Trump asserts executive privilege

Executive privilege is a right claimed by presidents to withhold information about internal executive branch deliberations from other branches of government.

Nadler declared the action by Trump’s Justice Department a clear new sign of the president’s “blanket defiance” of Congress’ constitutional rights.

“Every day, we learn of new efforts by this administration to stonewall Congress,” Nadler said. “This is unprecedented.”

WATCH: White House says Mueller shouldn’t have to testify since his report has already been released

Barr released a redacted version of Mueller’s report to the public last month, but Democrats said they want to see the full document, along with underlying evidence, and subpoenaed the full report.

The department has rejected that demand while allowing a handful of lawmakers to view a version of Mueller’s report with fewer redactions. Democrats have said they won’t view that version until they get broader access.

—With files from Reuters 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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