Published: Wed, May 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Democratic impeachment calls swell as McGahn defies subpoena

Democratic impeachment calls swell as McGahn defies subpoena

On Monday, Judiciary Committee member David Cicilline of Rhode Island - who leads the House Democratic Caucus's political messaging arm - said in an interview that if McGahn didn't show up, Democrats should begin an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

McGahn played the central role in what some Democrats interpret as the most damning episode described in the obstruction of justice section of the final report by special counsel Robert Mueller. A lawyer for McGahn said he would follow the president's directive.

Collins spoke at a hearing Tuesday, where Nadler issued a stern warning that McGahn would be held in contempt for defying a congressional subpoena and failing to appear before the committee.

McGahn's refusal to testify is the latest of several moves to block Democratic investigations by Trump, who has said his administration will fight "all of the subpoenas". McGahn was a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

A U.S. House committee chairman on Tuesday subpoenaed two more former White House aides, including Hope Hicks, just hours after former White House Counsel Donald McGahn was a no-show for testimony before the panel at President Donald Trump's request.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone says McGahn should not testify due to "constitutional immunity" and "in order to protect the prerogatives of the Office of the Presidency". "Once Congress has passed USMCA, we should turn our attention to a bipartisan infrastructure package", Trump wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer. And the House intelligence committee is expected to take a vote on a separate "enforcement action" against the justice department this week after Barr declined a similar request from that panel.

"This conduct is not remotely acceptable", Nadler said, referring to the White House's instruction to McGahn not to appear.

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"Even graveling in today's hearing without a witness is theatrical", he said. President Trump knows this.

"I personally feel like we cannot tolerate this level of obstruction, that if we do, then we have lowered the bar to the point where any criminal can be president of the United States and that should be unacceptable to all of us". "The Oversight Committee used a similar tactic three months ago when they invited Michael Cohen to testify, and that was an embarrassment for that committee and for Congress".

The House oversight committee claims sweeping investigative powers and says it needs Trump's financial records to examine whether he has conflicts of interest or broke the law by not disentangling himself from his business holdings as previous presidents did.

There is also one House Republican who doesn't think impeaching President Trump should be ruled out.

"So long as Congress investigates on a subject matter on which 'legislation could be had, ' Congress acts as contemplated by Article I of the Constitution", the judge continued.

The Maryland representative Jamie Raskin made the case that launching an impeachment inquiry would consolidate the Trump investigations as Democrats try to keep focus on their other work, according to the people.

"We have no division", she said.

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