Judge: ‘Presidents Are Not Kings’ – Should White House Staff Respect Subpoenas?
Should White House officials have to testify?
What’s the story?
- A federal judge ruled Monday that former White House counsel Don McGahn must comply with a House impeachment subpoena, rejecting the administration’s assertion that White House aides are “absolutely immune” from congressional subpoenas.
“Presidents are not kings,” U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote in a 120-page opinion.
- Jackson added: "When DOJ insists that presidents can lawfully prevent their senior-level aides from responding to compelled congressional process and that neither the federal courts nor Congress has the power to do anything about it, DOJ promotes a conception of separation-of-powers principles that gets these constitutional commands exactly backwards. In reality, it is a core tenet of this Nation’s founding that the powers of a monarch must be split between the branches of the government to prevent tyranny."
- McGahn and the Justice Department appealed the ruling on Tuesday.
What’s the reaction?
- President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he’d “love to” have his officials testify, but he’s “fighting for future presidents.”
- He continued:
"Likewise, I would love to have Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Mick Mulvaney and many others testify about the phony Impeachment Hoax," Trump tweeted. "It is a Democrat Scam that is going nowhere but, future Presidents should in no way be compromised. What has happened to me should never happen to another President!"
- Following the judge’s ruling, the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against Attorney General Bill Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for refusing to comply with subpoenas for documents related to the administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
- “Since the Supreme Court ruled against them—and the House of Representatives held them in contempt for blocking the Committee’s investigation—Attorney General Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross have doubled down on their open defiance of the rule of law and refused to produce even a single additional document in response to our Committee’s bipartisan subpoenas," House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said in a statement.
"President Trump and his aides are not above the law," Maloney added. "They cannot be allowed to disregard and degrade the authority of Congress to fulfill our core Constitutional legislative and oversight responsibilities.”
What do you think?
Should White House staff respect subpoenas? Or are they “absolutely immune”? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
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