Nancy Pelosi and her allies in Congress delivered an ultimatum to Attorney General William Barr.
Democrats demanded the Attorney General hand over an unredacted version of the Mueller report or face severe consequences.
Attorney General William Barr refused the Democrats demands for a copy of the unredacted version of the Mueller report for one simple reason: doing so would violate the law.
The government cannot disclose secret grand jury testimony, and there were pages of it included in the Mueller report.
In response, Pelosi lieutenant House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler threatened to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt of Congress for non-compliance.
Some media figures wondered if Democrats would then ask the House Sergeant at Arms to arrest Barr.
But Barr refused to take a course of action that would lead him to violate the law.
So Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter on Barr's behalf informing the Pelosi, and other top Democrats that Barr and the Justice Department would ask the President to assert executive privilege over the Mueller report should the Democrats proceed with a contempt vote as Nadler promised
"In the face of the Committee's threatened contempt vote, the Attorney General will be compelled to request that the President invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena," Boyd's letter read.
"I hereby request that the Committee hold the subpoena in abeyance and delay any vote on whether to recommend a citation of contempt for non-compliance with the subpoena, pending the President's termination of this question," Boyd continued.
Democrats did not back their threat to hold the Attorney General in contempt, so President Trump followed through and claimed executive privilege over the Mueller report.
Critics contend the Democrats are staging a phony crisis and crying "cover-up" to breathe life into the Mueller report ahead of possible testimony by the special counsel.
The report is public and the conclusions – no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government and no determination on obstruction of justice – are available for all to see.
And Barr has already gone above and beyond his legal duty with regards to making the report public.
All Barr was required to do was make the findings known to Congress.
There is no legal requirement the Attorney General hand it over to committee chairs or even make the document available for the public to read.
But this fight will set up one of the most consequential court battles of Donald Trump's Presidency which have far-reaching effects on separation of powers and the ability of Democrats in Congress to conduct politically motivated fishing expeditions that reach beyond their oversight powers as laid out in Article I of the Constitution.
Keep following Vetted Sources for any new developments in this ongoing story.