Image via Twitter, https://twitter.com/shack_jd/status/1127181490771513344
Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and noted conspiracy monger, has threatened contempt charges against basically everyone in D.C. at this point. He’s shown no respect for precedent or the process. In the past, Congress would give people ample time to negotiate in good faith before taking something to the level of contempt. Eric Holder was given over 400 days despite his stonewalling of Republican committees.
By contrast, Nadler gave Bill Barr the contempt of Congress treatment after just 43 days. His reason? Because the AG refused to break the law and make grand jury testimony public. Your head might explode if you try to make sense of that.
Now, he’s going after Don McGahn, who did not show up for his subpoenaed testimony today (and with good reason).
JUST IN: House Democrats will pursue contempt against Don McGahn after the former White House counsel fails to testify "Let me be clear. This committee will hear Mr. McGahn's testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it," Rep. Jerry Nadler says https://t.co/74tC8y7PR6 pic.twitter.com/IvwVfIGGn8
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) May 21, 2019
“The president has taken it upon himself to intimidate a witness who has a legal obligation to be here today. This conduct is not remotely acceptable,” he said.
“We will not allow the president to prevent the American people from hearing from this witness. We will not allow the president to block congressional subpoenas, putting himself and his allies above the law. We will not allow the president to stop this investigation, and nothing in these unjustified and unjustifiable legal attacks will stop us from pressing forward with our work on behalf of the American people. We will hold this president accountable, one way or the other,” Nadler said.
It’s hard to describe just how asinine this is.
Trump did not “intimidate a witness.” He lawfully claimed executive privilege over he and Don McGahn’s official communications. McGahn was the President’s legal counsel. His contact with the President not only meets the threshold for executive privilege, but also attorney-client privilege. There is no logical argument otherwise.
Nadler wants to throw his weight around though and pretend that executive privilege doesn’t exist anymore. This after he literally walked out of a multi-year culmination of a legitimate contempt vote of Eric Holder. At the time, he asserted the votes were partisan. What does he call trying to hold the President’s lawyer in contempt for obeying a legal claim of executive privilege?
He doesn’t care about how dumb all this is though. This is a game and the media are eating out of his hand, treating his machinations as serious business and proclaiming a constitutional crisis.
Nadler is essentially destroying the ability for Congress to ever legitimately hold someone in contempt of Congress again. It means nothing now because of his abuse. His overuse of the procedure also makes him look impotent, as he appears to just be thrashing around like a maniac at this point.
As to McGahn, he’s doing the right thing. While there are some claims of executive privilege the President may very well lose in court, there’s no question that McGahn falls under that protective umbrella given his position, profession, and the official nature of the communications in play.