House Democrats pressed forward with their articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump earlier this month, passing them just before Christmas and teeing up a trial in the Senate. But while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) continues to hold onto the articles, delaying the process, the fight continues for the rest of her caucus.
House Democrats are now locked in a legal battle with Justice Department lawyers, who are pushing back against Dems’ requests for grand jury materials from the Robert Mueller-led special counsel probe into alleged Trump–Russia collusion. According to The Epoch Times, lawyers for the Department of Justice (DOJ) say those documents were only requested to help the House make a decision on whether to impeach Trump; since the Dems have already impeached the president, the DOJ argues that the subpoenas are no longer valid.
Indeed, Democrats opted to push forward with their sights set solely on Ukraine — but in their haste to get done before the end of the year, it looks like the Dems missed their chance to nab Trump on charges related to Russia.
A legal battle in Washington
After Mueller’s two-year investigation ended with a whimper instead of the expected bang (the special counsel found no evidence of collusion or obstruction), House Democrats filed a lawsuit to obtain Mueller’s grand jury materials to continue on with an investigation of their own. An Obama-appointed district judge agreed with the argument that Congress had a “particularized need” for those materials, as they would be central to a decision about whether to impeach President Trump over supposed collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice.
But in a brief submitted with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, attorneys for the DOJ argued that the materials are no longer necessary.
“Neither article of impeachment adopted by the House…alleges high crimes or misdemeanors stemming from the events described in the Mueller Report,” the DOJ attorneys explained, according to the Times.
They went on: “To the contrary, the second article, in alleging obstruction of the impeachment inquiry, expressly recites that the House’s ‘impeachment inquiry focused on President Trump’s corrupt solicitation of the [g]overnment of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 United States [p]residential election.'”
Let’s see what sticks
According to reports, lawyers for the House Democrats also filed a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court on Monday, insisting that they still retain a “substantial and urgent interest” in obtaining the materials, now for the purpose of bolstering their arguments in a Senate trial — or, possibly, for forming the basis of additional articles against Trump.
“If this material reveals new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the [a]rticles adopted by the House, the [Judiciary] Committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” attorneys for the House Dems wrote, according to Fox News.
Meanwhile, a similar fight is also playing out over a subpoena issued for testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn; according to The Epoch Times, the DOJ has suggested that McGahn’s testimony is no longer needed, but Dems have argued that they still want to hear from the lawyer and that the impeachment over Ukraine doesn’t preclude them from impeaching Trump over other alleged transgressions.
But if there is only one clear takeaway from all of the impeachment nonsense over the past few weeks, it’s that House Democrats will not rest until they see President Trump removed from office.
If that means perpetuating investigations on moot issues and intermittently throwing multiple articles of impeachment against him until something finally sticks, so be it. The voters in 2020 are likely the only ones who can put a stop to this ongoing absurdity.