Well, maybe Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has some teeth after all. The test will be whether he can duck and dodge enough to avoid the Trump White House kicking them out. So far, the Trump administration has been like ninjas, slapping down subpoenas and document requests because they know what this circus is all about: getting the president. They want to impeach Trump. This is no secret. For some, this is the only way to prevent his re-election; a rather telling sign that even Democrats know Trump could easily cruise to a second term given their clown car of a candidate field. It may be large, but there really isn’t much depth. Out of the 20+ candidates, maybe three have a national constituency. Everyone else is just taking up space.
With the conclusion of the Russia investigation showing that there was no collusion, Democrats are scrambling to find something that they could for an impeachment inquiry. Actually, all of these so-called oversight hearings are impeachment proceedings. They want six years worth of Trump’s tax returns, which the Treasury Department turned down. They also have filed legal challenges to that, and so far, have unfortunately won the initial legal battles.
Now, they wanted Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Donald McGahn, and to testify concerning their latest witch-hunt: obstruction of justice during the Mueller probe. Belief is not evidence and there wasn’t enough to bring formal charges against President Trump, who probably wouldn’t have been charged anyway due to the fact that its standing principle that the chief executive cannot be indicted. Still, the White House rightfully blocked the testimony of McGahn and Hicks. Barr simply refused due to the demands of Nadler, who wanted staffers to question Barr as well. This all points to the fact that Nadler just wants to make a show—no shocker there—not search for the truth, and hopefully keep this albatross around Trump’s neck throughout 2020. That’s fine. All this does is remind Trump voters to get to the polls come Election Day 2020.
Today, House Democrats voted to give the Judiciary Committee the power to sue the Trump White House over their slapped down subpoenas, the fishing line that this White House cut (via WaPo):
The House took its strongest step yet in the standoff with President Trump over congressional oversight, voting Tuesday to seek court enforcement of subpoenas for Attorney General William P. Barr and former White House counsel Donald McGahn.
On a party-line vote of 229-to-191, the House passed a resolution that would empower the House Judiciary Committee to go to court against Barr and McGahn over noncompliance with requests for documents and testimony.
The vote keeps Democrats squarely on a meticulous investigative track favored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top leaders — and away from the formal impeachment inquiry that some 60 rank-and-file Democrats and several 2020 presidential candidates have been seeking.
Still, the House vote reflects the frustration among Democrats with Trump’s unwillingness to cooperate with congressional investigators who argue they have a constitutional right to examine the executive branch.
Democrats have already gone to federal judges in Washington and New York to seek enforcement of subpoenas targeting Trump’s financial records that are in the possession of private companies. They have scored initial wins in trial courts, but appeals are likely to play out over the coming months — a sluggish timeline that has fueled the push for impeachment.
Speaking at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s Fiscal Summit Tuesday, Pelosi said “not even close” to a majority of House Democrats favor launching impeachment proceedings against Trump and would not say whether she would allow an inquiry to proceed if most Democrats favored one.
“Why are we speculating on hypotheticals?” Pelosi asked. She also argued that Trump’s attacks on her — he called her a “a nasty, vindictive, horrible person” last week — have only bolstered her political standing.
Pelosi may try to stall all she wants; impeachment is coming. And this move took us one step closer because the Trump White House should fight to the death this second act of Trump-Russia Hysteria Theater. This is not your everyday oversight hearing or investigation. This is a left-wing crusade to remove a democratically elected president simply on the basis that Hillary Clinton lost. One could argue the Democrats’ obsession with impeaching and removing Trump has done more institutional harm that the Russians’ $100,000 Facebook campaign during the 2016 election that had little to no impact on the race.
House Judiciary Chair Nadler has reportedly been criticized by fellow Democrats for being more or less weak sauce in his fight with the Trump White House, not having a coherent strategy, and being pretty much the wrong guy to be quarterbacking the effort. We'll see what he does with this newfound enforcement power.