Trump’s Defense Against Subpoenas Makes No Legal SenseLike so many contentions of the president’s legal team, this is malarkey thinly draped with plausible-sounding distortions of facts, rules, court opinions, and the Constitution itself.
...The president’s counsel argues that all the subpoenas issued by the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight Committees prior to October 31 were invalid because the House hadn’t formally adopted an impeachment resolution. Therefore, they say, the president had no obligation to comply with any of them, thus exonerating him from obstruction. That is, to be plain, ridiculous. The three House committees that began the investigation on September 9 indisputably had the constitutional authority to do so as part of the oversight power. And they had the express authorization to issue subpoenas under House rules. The president’s position, incredibly, is that if an ongoing oversight investigation begins to produce evidence that might result in impeachment, the committees conducting that investigation somehow lose their subpoena authority until the whole House declares a formal impeachment inquiry.
This is, not to put too fine a point on it, absolutely daft. The power of the House to compel presidential disclosure increases once impeachment is contemplated...
Trump is saying that, with respect to any subject on which the House might find the president impeachable, he can issue a blanket order to the entire executive branch blocking access to information unless and until the House passes a formal impeachment-inquiry resolution. As long as he can enforce compliance with that order, the House will not get such information … and the result is checkmate.
And even when, as proved to be true here, patriotic, law-abiding executive-branch officials defy his directive and come forward, as long as important witnesses comply with his orders and the entire bureaucracy refuses to produce necessary documentary evidence, he can defend against impeachment based on a “lack of evidence.”
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. 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
And ANYONE who supports that nonsense is saying that a future Dem President can stonewall and will be within his/her rights as President.