The political battle on Capitol Hill escalated this evening as Congress sparred with President Donald Trump over access to special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Trump moved to block an effort by House Democrats to access the entire report through asserting executive privilege in his first use of the secrecy power since becoming president.
The move was announced as House democrats threatened to up the ante by preparing to vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to submit an unredacted version of the report.
Relations between congressional Democrats and The White House sunk to a fresh low following tonight's developments, with Trump’s spokesperson accusing the House Judiciary Committee chair, Jerrold Nadler, of seeking to "break the law" with his requests for the full report.
Nadler, who has issued a subpoena for the report, called the situation "a constitutional crisis", adding that Barr would still be held in contempt because the attorney general "has left this committee no choice but to reject the baseless, improper, and indefensible blanket assertion of executive privilege and pass this resolution holding him in contempt".
A redacted version of the report published last month did not conclude that there was a criminal conspiracy between the Kremlin and the Trump’s presidential campaign team.
However, in March the Democrat-led house House Judiciary Committee launched a probe into allegations that Trump had obstructed justice, demanding the entire 448-page report and its underlying evidence should be released.