Quantcast
Connect with us

Law professor slams Trump team’s ‘distortions of facts’ as they try to shoot down congressional subpoenas

Published

on

Writing for The Atlantic, University of Missouri Law professor Frank Bowman excoriated the White House legal team for their rationale against honoring congressional subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry.

“On Saturday, Trump’s lawyer Pat Philbin tried to extinguish any flickers of enlightened self-interest among Republicans by arguing that Trump was entitled to stonewall the House because the House hadn’t properly authorized its own subpoenas,” wrote Bowman. “Like so many contentions of the president’s defenders, this is malarkey thinly draped with plausible-sounding distortions of facts, rules, court opinions, and the Constitution itself.”

ADVERTISEMENT

First, as Bowman pointed out, all executive agencies under Article II — which the Trump team claims gives them absolute authority — only exist because Congress used its Article I powers to authorize and fund them. “Therefore, under the Constitution, Congress has both a responsibility and a right to inquire closely into the operations of the federal agencies, programs, and employees it authorizes, regulates, and funds. The power of inquiry includes the power to use subpoenas to compel production of testimony and documents. The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized this ‘oversight power’ and held it to be ‘coextensive with the power to legislate.'”

“In addition to the oversight power implied by its legislative authority, Congress possesses enhanced constitutional authority under the impeachment clauses to inquire into the conduct of the president and other impeachable ‘civil officers,'” continued Bowman. “The ‘sole power of impeachment’ granted to the House of Representatives by Article II, Section 3, would be meaningless if the House could not compel production of the evidence necessary to determine whether impeachable conduct had occurred.” Moreover, he wrote, oversight and impeachment powers are not mutually exclusive — contrary to the White House argument, the president’s conduct is not exempt from standard oversight functions just because an impeachment inquiry is underway.

“The House subpoenaed more than 70 categories of documents from executive-branch agencies, including the Departments of State, Defense, and Energy, and the Office of Management and Budget, and received exactly zero documents in return,” wrote Bowman. “This categorical refusal is without precedent or legal justification.”

The president is also arguing that any subpoenas issued before the vote to begin an impeachment inquiry are invalid.

“If the Senate, or its Republican members, accept the devious justification for defiance of Congress offered by Trump’s lawyers, they will validate a strategy of complete obstruction of congressional inquiries by this and future presidents,” warned Bowman. “The result is not only to neuter the impeachment power, but more profoundly, to cripple the fundamental check on executive mismanagement, abuse, corruption, and overreach embodied in their own power of oversight.”

ADVERTISEMENT

You can read more here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

GOP’s Susan Collins faces tough re-election fight as support plummets following vote to acquit Trump

Published

on

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, appears to be facing the toughest election of her career, with her support plummeting in a new poll.

Collins is in a virtual tie with Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, one of four Democrats running to face the GOP incumbent, according to a new Colby College poll first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Gideon leads the Democratic field in the poll by more than 50% and is the overwhelming favorite to face the Republican in November.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

MSNBC’s Morning Joe shreds Bloomberg for flunking ‘politics 101’ in first debate

Published

on

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough buried Mike Bloomberg's first presidential debate performance, and thumped big-name Democrats who saw him as the party's political savior.

The "Morning Joe" host said the billionaire and former New York City mayor seemed terribly unprepared for the attacks against his lengthy business and political record, and Scarborough said Bloomberg failed at the most basic skills.

"I think for Democratic professionals who saw this guy as their political savior to save them from Bernie Sanders, they had to be disappointed last night because he was bad in politics 101," Scarborough said. "They'll forgive a candidate that can beat Donald Trump for just about anything, but you're right, it's called a pivot."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

While Trump tries to remake the federal courts, progressive state prosecutors are making huge inroads

Published

on

On the national level, President Donald Trump is appointing judges by the dozens to positions on US federal courts, ensuring a conservative tilt for a generation.

But on the local level, a small group of progressive state prosecutors have been elected, and they have big ideas about criminal justice reform.

Parisa Dehghani-Tafti -- who is now the top prosecutor in northern Virginia's Arlington county in the Washington suburbs -- knows she is not the "typical" candidate for the job.

"I am an immigrant. I grew up very poor. I have done some (public) defender work," says the 46-year-old, who was born in Iran, and is a mother to two black children.

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image