10 October 2019

Beyond the Bizarre

Late Tuesday, the White House Counsel sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that has been described by legal experts as both bizarre and surreal. In it, he attempt to argue without any legal precedent that the ongoing impeachment inquiry is somehow unconstitutional.

In short, with this letter the White House lawyer notified the House that Donald Trump does not recognize the impeachment inquiry as legitimate and therefore will provide no cooperation, this a week after he said he would fully cooperate. Basically, Trump's position is like a child who hides under the bed in hopes that will somehow thwart a trip to the doctor.

"Despite the fact that [the letter] appears under the signature of the chief lawyer of the White House, the letter reads like some combination of a deeply misinformed seventh-grader’s social studies paper and a rant from Sean Hannity, randomly tossing around terms like 'civil liberties' and 'separation of powers' without any apparent understanding of what they mean," wrote Paul Waldman for the Washington Post (link here).

He continues, noting that the White House "is not saying that they have legal grounds to refuse some particular request Congress has made. They don’t even make a claim of executive privilege. They say instead that the entire inquiry is unfair, and therefore they can reject all of it."

Of course, such a stance is absurd. In fact, such a position is in itself an impeachable offense, and one count of Richard Nixon's impeachment articles was for similar behavior when Nixon tried to stonewall the House.

Writing for NBC about the letter (link here), Michael Conway, a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate crisis, stated flatly: "The Trump administration’s ill-conceived blatant defiance of congressional demands for the testimony of ... witnesses and documents in its ongoing impeachment inquiry into the Ukraine scandal has dramatically increased the likelihood that the President will be impeached."

And his conclusion is ominous: "The text of the Constitution and history will doom Trump’s flailing effort to escape the consequences of his actions. The House will do its duty, likely giving 100 senators a vote that will determine how each will be viewed by history — and his or her constituents in the elections to come."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Speak up!