Just when it seemed like impeachment couldn’t get any dumber or more tedious, the Democrats are prepared to take the circus to a new low.
While the Democrats did not impeach Trump over Robert Mueller’s investigation, they are prepared to resurrect ancient grievances over Trump’s “obstruction” of that probe with respect to Donald McGahn, his former White House counsel. House Judiciary Democrats floated the scenario of adding more articles of impeachment in a court filing seeking McGahn’s testimony, Breitbart reported.
“If McGahn’s testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the Articles approved by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly—including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” the brief reads.
A second impeachment?
The Mueller investigation was a mere historical footnote when Democrats voted to impeach Trump over his actions toward Ukraine on Dec. 18, but Democrats have made it clear they aren’t quite closing the book on the Russia saga. In a filing to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the committee argued that McGahn’s testimony is still relevant despite the House having already voted to adopt two articles of impeachment for “abuse of power” and obstruction of justice.
McGahn’s testimony could lay the groundwork for non-specific “new articles” or else provide valuable information in an upcoming Senate trial on whether Trump obstructed Congress, the committee said. But the Department of Justice urged the court to dismiss the case precisely because the impeachment vote rendered McGahn’s testimony irrelevant, adding that it would be improper for the courts to intervene in the ongoing political process in Congress.
“Indeed, if this Court now were to resolve the merits question in this case, it would appear to be weighing in on a contested issue in any impeachment trial,” the DOJ said. “That would be of questionable propriety whether or not such a judicial resolution preceded or post-dated any impeachment trial.”
Resurrecting ancient Mueller grievances
Democrats subpoenaed McGahn in March as the committee investigated whether Trump obstructed the Robert Mueller probe, particularly by asking McGahn to fire Robert Mueller. Trump blocked McGahn’s testimony, citing “absolute immunity,” and a court last month ordered McGahn to testify, prompting the DOJ to pursue an appeal.
The White House has consistently denied the Democrats’ obstruction charges on separations of powers grounds, arguing that Democrats are trying to criminalize the president’s legitimate privileges to withhold confidential, sensitive information.
Trump argued in his now-famous letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) last week that the impeachment for obstruction was making a crime out of “asserting Constitutionally based privileges that have been asserted on a bipartisan basis by administrations of both political parties throughout our nation’s history.”
Democrats aren’t serious about impeachment
Lawyers for Democrats said that the impeachment vote underscores the “urgent need” for McGahn’s testimony, which the committee said was of value to a Senate trial and, oddly, “ongoing impeachment investigations.” In a separate legal battle over Mueller’s grand jury evidence, Democrats said that the material “bears on the current Articles of Impeachment” — despite neither article having anything to do with Mueller — and said that the committee is still probing “other impeachable offenses,” Fox News reported.
The possibility of more impeachment articles raises new questions about the sincerity of the “solemn” Dec. 18 vote, the seriousness of which was immediately questioned when Pelosi threatened to withhold those very “urgent” documents from the Senate.
Since Pelosi hasn’t budged, it’s uncertain when or whether the Senate trial will finally get underway — and some, including one of the Democrats’ witnesses, say that Trump will not have actually been impeached until Pelosi does release the articles to the Senate.