Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler can go to court to force two key members of Trump’s inner circle to comply with congressional subpoenas, after the House voted Tuesday to approve that maneuver.

The House voted 229 to 191 along party lines to let Congress enforce subpoenas against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn, who have refused to follow legally binding subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee by turning over documents related to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“Mr. Speaker, when a congressional committee issues a subpoena, compliance is not optional,” Nadler said in a speech on the House floor urging House members to vote for the resolution. “We expect witnesses to testify when summoned. We expect the Administration to comply with subpoenas and to provide us with the materials we require to do our jobs.”

Refusing to comply with a subpoena is an affront to the rule of law.

Congressional subpoena powers are key to enforcing the constitutional mandate of Congress to carry out oversight and conduct investigations. And by refusing to comply, Barr and McGahn are creating a bad precedent that could hinder the legislative branch from doing its job for years to come.

But both Barr and McGahn’s trampling of the rule of law is consistent with the behavior of the man both have worked for.

Trump has been systematically trying to obstruct congressional investigations to try to avoid facing any repercussions for his lawless and corrupt conduct — including the conduct Mueller investigated, as well as other unethical things Trump has done while in the White House.

Trump has ordered everyone from McGahn, to former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, to a former White House official in charge of security clearances not to comply with legally binding congressional subpoenas.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s attempt to stonewall congressional oversight amounts to obstruction of justice. And it’s led dozens of Democratic members of Congress to call for impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Tuesday’s vote, however, allows Congress to enforce its oversight agenda without launching an impeachment inquiry.

If Trump and his aides continue to obstruct investigations, however, an impeachment inquiry could be the next step.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

IMAGE: Former White House counsel Don McGahn. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.