With Bill Barr at the helm, the Justice Department as it stands at present has proven consistently ready and willing to go to bat for President Donald Trump, and now, they’re doing it again. This past Friday, they filed a demand in federal court for House Democrats to be blocked from accessing grand jury testimony information from Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Their argument, which directly counters the one that House Democrats have raised, is that the House isn’t really engaged in an impeachment inquiry, and so their requests for materials in light of privacy exceptions for run-ups to judicial proceedings fall short, supposedly. They don’t stop there — Barr’s DOJ also claims even if they were in a formal impeachment proceeding, they shouldn’t have the material because that wouldn’t be a “real” judicial proceeding in the “plain and ordinary” meaning of the term.
Could the bias here be any more apparent? They’d like to completely throw out the concept of impeachment as a legitimate judicial proceeding just because if they don’t, House Democrats might get their hands on key information in the nationally and even globally relevant Mueller probe. What’s in there that they’re so worried about?
In their efforts, the Justice Department cited arguments from House Democratic leaders insisting that there were many options for the way forward, not just impeachment.
They wrote, attempting to insert themselves as the final or close to final arbiter of what’s legitimate Congressional action and what’s not:
‘As the committee’s chairman has stressed — and as the speaker of the House and the House majority leader both reiterated this week — the purpose of its investigation is to assess numerous possible remedial measures, including censure, articles of impeachment, legislation, Constitutional amendments, and more. What may come of this investigation—if anything — remains unknown and unpredictable.’
That may be the case! Trump and his cronies are the ones here who should be most familiar with the concept of remaining unknown and unpredictable, considering the belligerence they’ve rolled out on a consistent basis while in power.
Their argument mirrors their past attempts to stop House Democrats from accessing Trump’s tax returns, despite the plain and simple federal law allowing a certain committee chair access to those of any American. They argued that there was no legitimate legislative purpose for the request, so it should be denied — and Ways and Means Committee head Richard Neal (D-Mass.) pointed to an array of court decisions noting that Congressional “motives” are not to questioned, as a rule. That case is now in court.
Overall, an overwhelming majority of House Democrats have expressed explicit support for impeaching Trump. At present, the count of those in favor is at about 150, and those who’ve not expressed that support number about 90.
The House has taken a number of significant technical steps to clear the way for something like their claimed impeachment inquiry.
These steps include having “voted to allow all committee chairs to enforce subpoenas in court — with the approval of House leaders acting on behalf of the entire chamber” and having “adopted a resolution declaring all Trump-related subpoenas and demands for information — retroactively and into the future — to have the support of the full House.”
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