ADDS CONTEMPT VOTE IN GRAFS 6-7; MOVES UP LAST GRAF AND REFRAMES</p> <p>By Michael Hernandez</p> <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump exerted executive privilege Wednesday on the unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.</p> <p>The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the Justice Department for an unredacted copy of the report as well as all underlying evidence. Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler had set a Monday deadline for the department to comply, but it came and passed as the committee and the department continued talks to breach the impasse.</p> <p>Those discussions broke down late Tuesday. </p> <p>Nadler said the president decided to invoke privilege on the document as the committee prepared to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to adhere to the subpoena.</p> <p>"The department seemed open to sharing these documents with us just yesterday. This decision represents a clear escalation in the Trump administration's blanket defiance of Congress' constitutionally-mandated duties," Nadler said ahead of the contempt vote.</p> <p>The committee voted 24-16 later Wednesday to hold Barr in contempt, sending the matter to the full House where the Democratic majority will likely follow suit and trigger a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.</p> <p>Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney, would then decide whether a prosecution would be pursued. </p> <p>Barr released a redacted version of the Mueller report to Congress and the public last month, but Democrats have insisted on receiving an uncensored copy.</p> <p>The White House sharply criticized Nadler, saying in a statement that "neither the White House nor Attorney General Barr will comply with Chairman Nadler’s unlawful and reckless demands.</p> <p>"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," spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.