Dems Vow to Enforce Subpoenas as Trump Resistance Grows - NBC Connecticut
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

The latest news on President Donald Trump's presidency

Dems Vow to Enforce Subpoenas as Trump Resistance Grows

The standoff pits the legislative and executive branches in a constitutional showdown not seen since the Watergate era. Neither side is expected to back down

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Learn How Doctors Are Treating Elbow Injuries With Metal Prosthetics
    President Donald Trump (L); Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California.

    What to Know

    • Trump, his family and the Trump Organization have filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One to thwart congressional subpoenas

    • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging House committee chairmen to push forward with their oversight agendas

    Democrats are steeling for an extraordinary fight with President Donald Trump as the White House stonewalls congressional oversight demands in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

    In the latest case, Trump, his family and the Trump Organization have filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One attempting to thwart congressional subpoenas into his financial and business dealings, asserting the requests are out of bounds.

    That comes as Trump's treasury secretary is declining to produce the president's tax returns, Attorney General William Barr is threatening to back out of his agreement to appear this week before the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee, and former White House counsel Don McGahn and other officials are being encouraged not to testify before Congress.

    "He's prepared to fight us tooth and nail. And we're prepared to fight him back," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee. "He obviously has something to hide."

    Trump Walks Back FBI Critique on Foreign Dirt Comments

    [NATL] Trump Walks Back FBI Critique on Foreign Dirt Comments, Says Would Turn Over to Authorities
    President Trump is flipping the script on foreign election interference, after telling ABC News that he’d consider taking foreign dirt on a political opponent. The president clarified his previous statement on Fox News, saying that “there isn’t anything wrong with listening” to such intelligence, and that “of course” he’d contact the authorities if a foreign power offered it to him.”
     
    (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    The standoff pits the legislative and executive branches against each other in a constitutional showdown not seen since the Watergate era. Neither side is expected to back down. The debate over witnesses and documents could escalate with legal battles rippling into the 2020 election.

    From Trump's perspective, since Mueller finished his report on Russian interference into the election, there's no further need to investigate. It's a view largely backed by the president's party in Congress. But Democrats say it's their duty to conduct oversight even as they are also confronting the limits of their own enforcement powers.

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the stonewalling "certainly builds the case that the administration and the president is engaged in wholesale obstruction of Congress, completely extraconstitutional, trying to make the presidency not responsive to Congress, trying to make the presidency into a monarchy."

    Nadler said the White House's position is "absolutely unacceptable."

    Impeachment proceedings, though, which would run through Nadler's committee, remain off the table for now, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging the House chairmen to push forward with their oversight agendas.

    Republicans have largely stood by Trump and shown little interest in the oversight agenda many view as little more than a partisan attack on the president.

    Congress Takes on 'Deepfakes' Leading Up to 2020 Election

    [NATL] Congress Takes on 'Deepfake' Videos s Leading Up to 2020 Election

    Deepfakes, doctored videos with one face realistically superimposed on another, gained attention and alarm from lawmakers leading up to the 2020 presidential elections in an era that saw instant fallout from other altered videos of celebrities and politicians. 

    (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in his first remarks in Washington since the special counsel's report was released almost two weeks ago, said he "didn't hear a single word about the Mueller report" from constituents at home in Kentucky.

    McConnell brushed off concerns that Trump's decision to ignore congressional subpoenas could set a precedent for executive overreach by this White House or future ones.

    "Every administration since I've been around has been in disputes with Congress over power," McConnell told reporters. "We'll see how it all sorts out."

    Congress has a range of tools available to try to force compliance from the White House, either through civil lawsuits compelling administration officials to testify or produce documents, or by holding others in contempt of Congress, as it seeks information for investigations stemming beyond the special counsel's probe.

    Mueller's nearly two-year investigation left unanswered a key question of whether the president obstructed justice. While the report did not find that Trump conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, it recounted 10 instances where Trump tried to intervene in the investigation.

    Barr is set to testify Wednesday in the Senate, but his appearance Thursday in the House is uncertain. House Democrats have also asked Mueller to testify by May 23, but Republicans, who have the majority in the Senate, have not made a similar request.

    Trump: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House

    [NATL] Trump: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be leaving her post at the end of June.

    (Published Thursday, June 13, 2019)

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he was unsure if Mueller should testify. While Congress has a "legitimate and important" oversight role, he said, "it's also hard to see the Democrats are exercising that function in good faith when their only objective is trying to destroy the president."

    For Democrats, the ability to conduct oversight of the White House is a core responsibility that extends beyond investigating the president into agency actions that can touch the lives of Americans.

    "If the executive branch can deny the legislative branch the ability to bring witnesses to testify under oath and for the production of documents, the executive branch will have essentially eliminated the oversight function of Congress," said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.

    Yet while Democrats have vowed to go to court, those proceedings could last years, possibly past Trump's tenure. And if they chose to hold officials in criminal contempt, which would take a vote of the full House, it would be referred to Justice Department officials unlikely to side with the Democrats.

    Some Democrats have thrown out other options: daily fines for not showing up, for example, or cutting appropriations for an official's agency. But those ideas might not be politically popular.

    There's also an option that would be even more contentious and hasn't been used in decades — trial and even imprisonment by Congress. Called "inherent contempt," this process was often used in the country's early years but hasn't been employed in almost a century. While Democrats have vowed to use all of the available legal tools, they have shown no interest in going that far.

    Biden, Trump Hold Dueling Events in Iowa

    [NATL] Biden, Trump Hold Dueling Events in Iowa

    Former vice president and current Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and President Donald Trump held dueling events in Iowa on Thursday.

    (Published Tuesday, June 11, 2019)

    Despite drawbacks, Democrats say they will have to fight on multiple fronts to get the witnesses and documents they need.

    "If you let them get away with this, then what do you have?" said House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings on Monday. "If the president can get away with blocking any information and anybody from testifying before the Congress, what road are we going down?"