The move comes ahead of a vote in the committee about whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress over a dispute related to the census and for not complying with subpoenas issued by the committee.
Cummings told the committee on Wednesday that he would postpone the contempt vote until later in the afternoon so lawmakers could review the letter.
The assertion of executive privilege comes after Boyd wrote to Cummings on Tuesday to say that as a result of the scheduled contempt vote, “the Attorney General is now compelled to request that the President invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena to the Attorney General and the subpoena to the Secretary of the Department of Commerce.”
It’s unclear what will happen after the committee votes on the resolution, but the vote will mark the latest escalation in hostilities between House Democrats and the Trump administration as Democrats press ahead with wide-ranging oversight investigations into the President and the executive branch.
Depending on how the Departments of Justice or Commerce respond, House Democrats could go to the floor with both criminal and civil contempt. They could also drop criminal before going to the floor if some accommodation happens.
According to a committee aide, a criminal contempt vote would have to go through the floor. However, civil contempt could go through the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which is made up of the three highest-ranked House Democrats and two highest-ranked House Republicans
Cummings told CNN on Tuesday that he’s not sure what the next step after his committee would be and if he’d push for a full House vote.
“We will decide that when the time comes,” Cummings said of next steps.
“If they come to us, we will certainly talk to them, but I don’t anticipate that,” Cummings added, referring to the possibility of a deal or any accommodation being reached ahead of the vote.
The Justice Department and Commerce Department have both argued that they are working in good faith to respond to the requests from the committee and have already submitted thousands of pages of documents to the panel.
“What we are doing is cooperating in a rational way that’s consistent with the rules, the regulations, the laws and prior practice,” Ross said, adding, “We have produced to the House Oversight Committee 14,000 pages of material. I testified before them for almost seven hours. We’re producing three more witnesses.”
A Democratic committee aide told CNN, however, that those documents have been insufficient and are either publicly available documents, heavily redacted or just not responsive to the request at all and unrelated.
Census data serves as the basis for decisions about how to allocate federal resources and draw congressional districts.
This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett, Ellie Kaufman and Sam Fossum contributed to this report.