The partial U.S. House of Representatives victory in the enforcement of four subpoenas for Trump and family financial records from third parties in Trump v. Mazars today in SCOTUS underscores the folly of congressional resort to federal courts in lieu of impeachment for defiance of subpoenas. The subpoenas were issued in April 2019. The SCOTUS decision sends the case back to lower courts for further review, which will not be complete until after November’s balloting, making them politically irrelevant. Moreover, House subpoenas expire at the end of the issuing Congress–in this case, January 4, 2021 before SCOTUS will have time to address the issues again after its remands. Congress will be back to square one in January.
This is no way to run a railroad. We are working with Congressmen Larson, Raskin, and others for a House Resolution making defiance of a congressional subpoena an impeachable offense. Once exercised, it should concentrate the mind of the Executive Branch wonderfully on subpoena compliance with alacrity.
Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent in Trump v. Mazars makes clear that the congressional impeachment mode endows Congress with virtually limitless oversight or investigatory authority over the President. All the more reason to make defiance of a congressional subpoena an impeachable offense.
-Ralph Nader and Bruce Fein