House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is truly caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. As the current U.S. president lawlessly ignores congressional subpoenas and impedes Congress in their efforts to fulfill their Constitutional duty to conduct oversight, impeachment should be an inevitability.
However, with a Senate dominated by Republicans, headed by the self-proclaimed “Grim Reaper” of Democratic efforts, Mitch McConnell, a vote for impeachment is unlikely even to ever move forward. If Trump is impeached by the House but it is overturned by the Senate, or never even brought up for a vote, a precedent is set. Future presidents will be able to do the same thing Trump is doing now.
Should be an interesting infrastructure meeting!😳https://t.co/aN6oJUDJcf
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 22, 2019
More important than impeachment proceedings is getting all of the information before the American public. Democrats face significant barriers in this area, however, with a presidential administration committed to keeping information not only from the public, but from elected members of Congress.
Pelosi addressed this barrier in a meeting with Democrats on Wednesday morning. After that meeting, she told reporters, according to Axios:
‘While leaving a closed-door meeting to discuss the issue of impeachment Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that House Democrats “believe the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.”‘
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) May 22, 2019
One of the only ways to force the Trump administration to turn over documents and force witnesses to honor subpoenas and testify is through initiating impeachment proceedings. During impeachment hearings, Trump will not be able to block people like his former White House counsel, Don McGahn, who once threatened to quit because Trump was telling him to “do crazy sh*t,” from testifying.
‘The decision by Trump to block former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee this has invigorated calls to launch impeachment proceedings, even from some Democrats who were previously hesitant to take it that far.’
"We do believe that it's important to follow the facts," House Speaker Pelosi said. "We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up." https://t.co/k5nlkuvPom
— CNN (@CNN) May 22, 2019
Trump, meanwhile, is exerting executive privilege over information that isn’t covered by that provision. Executive privilege is to be used in order to keep information private that would be against the public interest should it go public. For instance, a public release of military plans or policy decisions that would undermine efforts is covered by executive privilege.
Trump’s criminal obstruction, his tax returns, and campaign finance violations are not covered by executive privilege, although that’s certainly how he’s trying to use it. As Pelosi said on Wednesday, it’s evidence of nothing more than a criminal cover-up.
Pelosi will implore Democrats to stick with her plan of continuing to investigate Trump on multiple fronts, with legal action as the backup when necessary https://t.co/uCiTyEpBLI
— POLITICO (@politico) May 22, 2019
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