Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gives his opening statement as former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
As has been signaled for a while, the Democrats in the House want to have their cake and eat it to on impeachment.
They don’t want to actually impeach Donald Trump because that’s wildly unpopular. Instead, they want to wink and nod while demanding judges give them access to information as if impeachment had happened so they can drag this out until 2020.
That’s the plan Jerry Nadler and company are moving forward with now and this was laid out in a bizarre press conference yesterday.
What is he even talking about? “Filing an application?” With whom?
And it’s like they don’t understand words. The DOJ cannot legally provide the grand jury info to Congress under the statute & the case law of the DC federal Court of Appeals. That is 100% not going to happen. https://t.co/gk3MIppNbW
— Leslie McAdoo Gordon (@McAdooGordon) July 26, 2019
The technical absurdity of “filing an application” aside, here’s what Nadler is trying to do.
Details via Fox News.
As a major next step, Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and the committee filed a petition in D.C. federal court on Friday to obtain grand jury materials from the former special counsel’s investigation. The petition claims the panel needs the information in order to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment, in an attempt to give the request more weight in the eyes of the court.
“To meaningfully consider whether to exercise this authority — as well as to exercise its other pressing legislative and oversight responsibilities — the Committee must obtain evidence and testimony in a timely manner,” the filing reads.
Fresh off the disaster that was Robert Mueller’s testimony, Nadler has now decided to take the next step in this ridiculous game. Namely, he’s going to ask the court to make an exception in the laws dealing with grand jury testimony. Keep in mind that such exceptions are granted at such a low volume as to be almost non-existent historically. There are almost no legitimate reasons to expose people who gave grand jury testimony and political food fighting is certainly not one of those reasons.
The law protects grand jury testimony for a very important reason. If the guarantees of confidentiality are no longer there, the grand jury system becomes pointless and it encourages a lack of cooperation. This is especially true given that the mere presence of a person testifying can be used to smear them, even if they’ve technically done nothing wrong.
What Nadler is trying to do sets an awful precedent.
That is what Nadler is arguing, yes. Not clear that he will get it…https://t.co/alFkLS33pV
— Byron York (@ByronYork) July 26, 2019
This is exactly right. The access Nadler seeks is reserved for actual impeachment proceedings (and even then, maybe not). There is no precedent, nor logic to opening an “impeachment inquiry” within a committee and then suddenly being given access to everything as if articles of impeachment had passed. You either pass articles of impeachment or you don’t.
If a judge rubber stamps this, it opens the door for massive abuse, not just that which will take place under Nadler, but also in future administrations. Don’t like who was elected president? Just open an impeachment “inquiry” in a committee and demand all their personal information. There’s got to be something there, right? And we just need to be sure of course.
That’s essentially what Democrats are doing. They have no real evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. If they did, they’d have passed articles of impeachment already and we’d be halfway through a trial in the Senate by now. They can’t though, so they want to subvert the system entirely, impeaching while not actually impeaching so as to not rile public opinion against them.
Republicans are already speculating this gambit won’t work.
This description, though, prompted confusion on Capitol Hill. Republicans on the same committee insisted that the House has not entered a formal impeachment inquiry, meaning Democrats aren’t entitled to the grand jury material they seek.
“The House is either formally in impeachment proceedings, which involve both an impeachment inquiry and consideration of articles of impeachment, or we are not. It’s a binary issue,” a GOP aide said in an email.
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., blasted Nadler’s move to “sue for grand jury material to which they have no right.”
“Chairman Nadler’s legal action here is sure to fail, weakening Congress’s ability to conduct oversight now and into the future. If my colleagues want grand jury information, they should propose legislation allowing Congress to access it,” he said in a statement. “Democrats want to convince their base they’re still wedded to impeachment even after this week’s hearing, but a baseless legal claim is an odd way to show that.”
Whatever judge gets this, regardless of who appointed him or her, needs to put politics aside and slap this down hard. Ruling in favor of Democrats here would open a Pandora’s box of corruption. If Democrats want special access to materials, they need to impeach the President. Period. If they can’t do that, tough luck. They don’t get to change the rules just because they are scared of public opinion. The case law does not support them getting their way here and it shouldn’t be ignored just because Trump is president. That has become all too common and it’s a blight on our judicial system.
Hopefully, cooler heads prevail here in court, even if it means the Supreme Court having to step in eventually. The left hating Donald Trump is not a valid reason to destroy all constitutional and legal norms.
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