Over the weekend, Palmer Report told you to expect House Democrats to swiftly begin the subpoena process once William Barr officially fails to meet their Tuesday deadline for turning over the full Robert Mueller report. Subpoenas are a powerful tool, but they’re not instant or automatic, and they have to be done in a certain way in order to end up winning any resulting court battle. Sure enough, confirmation is now coming that those subpoenas are about to start flying, and they’re going to resemble a tsunami.
The House Judiciary Committee is already preparing for Barr to miss the Tuesday deadline, and on Wednesday morning it will hand Chairman Jerry Nadler unilateral subpoena power regarding the Mueller probe, according to a new report from Politico. Why does this matter? In our view, the whole reason for doing this is so that Nadler doesn’t have to come back and have the committee vote again each time he wants to send yet another subpoena; this is done for convenience whenever a large number of cascading subpoenas are expected to be issued.
As it turns out, Nadler’s upcoming subpoena tsunami won’t focus on just the Mueller report itself. According to the same Politico report, several former Trump people including Reince Priebus, Don McGahn, and Hope Hicks are all about to be subpoenaed to turn over certain documents related to the Mueller probe. This is noteworthy because over the past two years, various major media outlets have reported that all of these people cooperated extensively with Mueller. In fact just twelve days ago, CNN reported that Hicks was actively cooperating with the House Judiciary Committee. So why the subpoenas?
No matter how cooperative these people might want to be, Donald Trump and his White House can try to step in and prevent them from turning over certain Mueller probe-related documents by asserting executive privilege. It becomes more difficult for Trump to assert this if the records in question have been formally subpoenaed. Similarly, even if Robert Mueller wants to come in and testify about his report, he’ll presumably be subpoenaed as well, in order to allow him to be more free with his answers.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report