The House Oversight Committee filed suit against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over their refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas in the investigation over the failed effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
CNBC: “Television footage of Ross showed the wealthy businessman sleeping soundly as Trump talked about a possible trade deal with China — which is part of the Commerce chief’s portfolio — and the U.S.’s stance on Iran.”
“Ross had his eyes firmly closed for as long as 15 minutes, video suggested, as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave the impression of listening intently to Trump.”
“President Trump has told aides and allies that he is considering removing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after a stinging Supreme Court defeat on adding a citizenship question to the census,” NBC News reports.
“While Trump has previously expressed frustration with the 81-year-old Ross, in particular over failed trade negotiations, Ross’s long personal relationship with the president has allowed him to keep his job. And after the departure of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, the Cabinet’s only Hispanic who resigned on Friday amid questions about his role in a controversial 2008 plea agreement with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Ross may yet receive another reprieve.”
“But some White House officials expect Ross to be the next Cabinet secretary to depart, possibly as soon as this summer, according to advisers and officials.”
A federal judge ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in “bad faith,” broke several laws and violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy when he added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the Washington Post reports.
“In finding a breach of the Constitution’s enumeration clause, which requires a census every 10 years to determine each state’s representation in Congress, the 126-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco went further than a similar decision on Jan. 15 by Judge Jesse Furman in New York.”
“The Supreme Court has already agreed to review Furman’s narrower decision, with arguments set for April 23, but may now need to expand its inquiry to constitutional dimensions.”
“The U.S. government’s top ethics watchdog has ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated his ethics agreement by inaccurately reporting stock holdings in his 2018 financial disclosure form,” the Washington Post reports.
“Ross — one of the wealthiest members of President Trump’s Cabinet — did not sell stock he held in a bank, despite reporting otherwise.l
President Trump “is telling people he wants to replace Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross by the end of the year,” CNBC reports.
“Trump favors Linda McMahon to replace Ross in the role, said these people… He is also considering Ray Washburne, whom Trump appointed as president and CEO of Overseas Private Investment Corporation last year.”
“The Supreme Court shielded Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from answering lawyers’ questions in a lawsuit challenging his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form,” the Washington Post reports.
“The government had asked the Supreme Court to block questioning of Ross as part of a lawsuit filed by several states, including New York, and civil rights groups. The groups are seeking to stop the administration from adding a citizenship question to the decennial count. It is one of six legal challenges to the question, which Ross announced March 26 would be added to the survey to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross now recalls speaking with a White House official about the possibility of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, NPR reports.
“That’s according to a new court document from the administration’s attorneys that confirms conversations between senior officials during the early months of the Trump administration.”
“This disclosure backtracks Ross’ congressional testimony in March.”
“A federal court ruled that a Cabinet secretary must provide, for the first time in 19 years, a deposition in a civil case,” Politico reports.
“The Cabinet member, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, must answer questions about the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.”
Said U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman: “Applying well-established principles to the unusual facts of these cases, the court concludes that the question is not a close one. Secretary Ross must sit for a deposition because, among other things, his intent and credibility are directly at issue in these cases.”
Forbes: “A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been quietly making its way through the New York State court system over the last three years, pitting a private equity manager named David Storper against his former boss: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The pair worked side by side for more than a decade, eventually at the firm, WL Ross & Co.—where, Storper later alleged, Ross stole his interests in a private equity fund, transferred them to himself, then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork. Two weeks ago, just before the start of a trial with $4 million on the line, Ross and Storper agreed to a confidential settlement, whose existence has never been reported and whose terms remain secret.”
”It is difficult to imagine the possibility that a man like Ross, who Forbes estimates is worth some $700 million, might steal a few million from one of his business partners. Unless you have heard enough stories about Ross.”
A detailed review of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ calendar from February to November 2017 — his first months in office — “reveals dozens of meetings with companies tied to his personal fortune, which he built up over years in private equity,” Forbes reports.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross “said he would sell all of his remaining stock holdings after the Office of Government Ethics faulted him for continuing to maintain investments — and enter into new ones — that he was required to divest,” the New York Times reports.
“In a strongly worded letter, the ethics office said Mr. Ross’s continued ownership of assets that his ethics agreement required him to divest — and his decision to open short sale positions while serving as Commerce secretary — could have placed him in position to violate criminal conflict of interest laws.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC that there’s no level on the downside in the stock market that would alter the way President Trump approaches trade.
Said Ross: “There’s no bright line level of the stock market that’s going to change policy. The president is trying to fix long-term problems that should have been fixed a long time ago.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross failed to keep his promise to divest from his company holdings upon entering government, Forbes reports.
“Ross reportedly kept his stakes in companies co-owned by the Chinese government, a firm linked to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, and a Cyprus bank caught up in the Robert Mueller investigation.”
“Whatever his final decision is, is what will happen. What he has said he has said; if he says something different, it’ll be something different.”
— Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, quoted by NBC News, on whether President Trump will reverse his controversial tariff announcement.
According to financial-disclosure forms Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross filed after his nomination, Ross has less than $700 million in assets despite repeatedly claiming he’s worth more than $2 billion, Forbes reports.
“And after one month of digging, Forbes is confident it has found the answer: That money never existed. It seems clear that Ross lied to us, the latest in an apparent sequence of fibs, exaggerations, omissions, fabrications and whoppers that have been going on with Forbes since 2004.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross “shares business interests with Vladimir Putin’s immediate family, and he failed to clearly disclose those interests when he was being confirmed for his cabinet position,” NBC News reports.
“Ross — a billionaire industrialist — retains an interest in a shipping company, Navigator Holdings, that was partially owned by his former investment company. One of Navigator’s most important business relationships is with a Russian energy firm controlled, in turn, by Putin’s son-in-law and other members of the Russian president’s inner circle.”
New York Times: “Details of these arrangements surfaced in a cache of leaked files from Appleby, one of the world’s largest offshore law firms, which administered some 50 companies and partnerships in the Caymans and elsewhere connected to Mr. Ross.”
“It’s the Congress. That’s where the flaw comes. You can do whatever you want in the administration. Congress is much more about process than about results. That will be tragic for the American economy.”
— Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, interviewed by Newsmax.