Trump’s attempts to stonewall Congress and block the legislative branch from conducting oversight are blatant acts of obstruction of justice and are in violation of the Constitution — according to conservative Republican lawyer Paul Rosenzweig, who served as a senior counsel on the team led by Kenneth Starr that investigated former President Bill Clinton back in the 1990s.
The former Starr counsel testified Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, which was conducting a hearing on Trump’s stonewalling of Congress. Trump has been doing so by banning current and former administration officials from complying with congressional subpoenas, and asserting executive privilege when no executive privilege is warranted.
Rosenzweig pointed out that he is not often called to testify by Democratic members of Congress, but that in this case he stands with Democrats who believe that Trump’s attempts to avoid congressional oversight are wrong.
“Adherence to the rule of law means that rules have to be applied even-handedly, regardless of whether a political party or other interest is immediately benefited,” Rosenzweig said in a witness statement to the House Judiciary Committee. “It means not invoking privileges to conceal wrongdoing; and it means not invoking them to frustrate legitimate congressional inquiry.”
Rosenzweig went on to say that he believes Trump’s attempts to assert executive privilege, such as trying to retroactively declare special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be secret, are unconstitutional.
“If you continue to think that President Clinton’s use of the privilege to avoid scrutiny of his actions was
violative of his oath of office and deserving of condemnation — as I do — you can say no less
about President Trump,” he said.
Rosenzweig concluded: “Sadly, today, it increasingly appears that the president is acting in a manner designed to denigrate and disregard checks on his use of executive authority. To date, his actions appear unable to distinguish between the public interests that undergird the privilege and his own personal and political interests.”
Republicans in Congress might be A-OK with standing idly by as Trump obstructs their legitimate oversight powers.
But as this Republican lawyer showed, there’s no good reason for it to be a partisan issue.
Published with permission of The American Independent.