We now find ourselves in a circular firing squad. Congress is issuing subpoenas, and the Department of Justice, the White House and the Treasury are refusing to comply without meeting the Trump administration’s partisan and unreasonable conditions. This is pure obstruction of justice. It is also against the separation of powers sacred to our Constitution.
Aside from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s stalling tactics, we now have John Gore refusing to testify unless he can bring lawyers with him from the Justice Department. Chairman Elijah Cummings subpoenaed him to answer inquiries regarding his role in the Trump administration’s effort to add a question of citizenship to the 2020 Census. Gore has refused. The committee may vote to hold him in contempt, but even if they do so, the charge will be referred to D.C. U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu, a Trump appointee, and a Bill Barr favorite.
As is now becoming a pattern, Carl Kline, the official who okayed a number of terrifyingly inappropriate security clearances, told Cummings he will not participate in a deposition unless lawyers from the White House Counsel’s Office can attend. This is unacceptable. The House must harken back to 1935 and try to invoke the powers of Inherent Contempt of Congress, not used since then. Under this, the House can order the Sergeant-at-Arms to jail a person who refuses to testify.
The House is leery of such overt acts as arrests, as they should be. But enough is enough. This administration is so lawless, that without teeth, the House’s bite is barely a nibble. This is how Trump and his hoard have gotten through life, by using the courts as stalling tactics till the fight is gone in their opponents, and the issue finally goes away. But Trump is now up against Congressman Cummings, who has been through worse. I suspect he has very sharp fangs, and is waiting for the appropriate time to snap them.