Subpoena-palooza: House Dems target WH Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in Mexican stand-off

(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

Mick Mulvaney has become the first White House official to be subpoenaed by top-level congressional Democrats in their ongoing push to impeach President Donald Trump.

“Pursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, we are hereby transmitting subpoena that compels you to produce documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by October 18, 2019,” the public subpoena sent on Friday to the acting White House chief of staff reads.

Written by House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings, House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, and House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel, the subpoena claims that the three were effectively forced to subpoena Mulvaney because of President Donald Trump.

“The White House has refused to engage with—or even respond to—multiple requests for documents from our Committees on a voluntary basis. After nearly a month of stonewalling, it appears clear that the President has chosen the path of defiance, obstruction, and cover-up. …,” it reads.

“We deeply regret that President Trump has put us — and the nation — in this position, but his actions have left us with no choice but to issue this subpoena.”

Read the whole subpoena below:

 

“Failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President,” it continues.

The subpoena was issued hours after the president threatened that his lawyers won’t cooperate with congressional Democrats unless they make their impeachment efforts official by holding a vote on it versus running the “scam” as an informal impeachment inquiry.

“We’ll be issuing a letter. As everybody knows, we’ve been treated very unfairly, very different from anybody else if you go over — not only history, I mean you go over any aspect of life, you’ll see how unfairly we’ve been treated,” he said while speaking to reporters outside the White House.

When asked whether he’d prefer for congressional Democrats to just “proceed with an … official impeachment inquiry” (i.e., a vote), he emphatically said yes.

“Well, I wouldn’t mind because we have no rights,” the president maintained. “They way they’re doing it, they’ve taken away our rights. So, if they proceed — and, you know, they’ll just get their people. They’re all in line. Because even though many of them don’t want to vote, they have no choice. They have to follow their leadership. And then we’ll get it to the Senate, and we’re going to win.”

He added that he believes Democrats will pay a steep price in the long-run for pursuing the agenda of its more radical members instead of listening to the concerns of the American people.

“So the Democrats, unfortunately, they have the votes. They can vote very easily, even though most of them, many of them, don’t believe they should do it. And I do believe — I do believe that because of what they’re doing with Pelosi and their real leaders, AOC plus 3 — that’s their real leaders — I really believe that they’re going to pay a tremendous price at the polls,” he said.

Listen:

Two unnamed Trump administration officials later confirmed that the White House is indeed preparing “a letter of objection to Pelosi,” according to USA Today, though they were unable to confirm when exactly the letter would be sent. It may not be sent until next week.

What’s known is that Schiff, Cummings, and Engel tried to preemptively squash the letter by addressing its key points in their subpoena to Mulvaney.

“A vote of the full House is not required to launch an impeachment inquiry, and there is no authority for the White House to make this claim,” they wrote. “There is no such requirement in the Constitution or in the House Rules. Nor does precedent support this claim.”

They continued by citing what happened to disgraced former President Richard Nixon.

“[T]he Judiciary Committee had been investigating charges of impeachment for months before the House voted to open an inquiry,” they wrote. “In 1974, the Judiciary Committee had already ‘been conducting an investigation into the charges of impeachment against President Nixon’ and had ‘hired special counsel for the impeachment inquiry.'”

But there’s also legal precedent for a president refusing to comply with document requests during an impeachment inquiry.

“President Nixon informed the House Judiciary Committee today that he would refuse to comply with two subpoenas for additional Watergate tapes and documents and would do the same on future demands,” a piece from The New York Times published 45 years ago reads.

(Source: The New York Times)

Nor is Trump the only one pushing back against Democrats.

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy submitted a letter to Pelosi demanding that the impeachment inquiry be suspended “until transparent and equitable rules and procedures are established to govern the inquiry, as is customary.”

He further argued that it’s her caucus’ lack of transparency that’s unprecedented, not the president’s response.

“As you know, there have only been three prior instances in our nation’s history when the full House has moved to formally investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of a sitting president,” he said.

“I should hope that if such an extraordinary step were to be contemplated a fourth time, it would be conducted with an eye towards fairness, objectivity, and impartiality. Unfortunately, you have given no clear indication as to how your impeachment inquiry will proceed — including whether key historical precedents or basic standards of due process will be observed.”

Vivek Saxena

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