Bill Barr directs top DOJ official to defy subpoena from House Oversight Committee
AG William Barr testifies before Congress. (Image via AFP/Nicholas Kamm.)

Attorney General Bill Barr has directed the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division chief to not appear this week for a scheduled deposition at the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The Daily Beast reports that Stephen Boyd, the department’s top Hill liaison, sent a letter to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday outlining his objections to House Democrats' insistence that DOJ official John Gore not have an attorney present during his deposition.

“We are disappointed that the Committee remains unwilling to permit Department counsel to represent the interests of the Executive Branch in the deposition of a senior Department official,” Boyd wrote. “Accordingly, Attorney General Barr’s determination that Mr. Gore will not appear at the Committee’s deposition unless a Department attorney may accompany him remains in effect.”

The Oversight Committee had been set to question Gore about his role in adding a question about citizenship status to the 2020 census, which Democrats have argued is designed to lower the population counts of more heavily populated urban areas, thus giving a boost to rural districts represented by Republicans.

In refusing to comply with the subpoena, Gore runs the risk of being held in contempt of Congress.