Two Tricky Dicks


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Arguing the House Judiciary Committee should be denied obtaining grand jury materials from the Mueller investigation, the Justice Department said the decision to release secret grand jury materials to the House in 1974, when Nixon faced impeachment, was incorrect and that those materials should have been kept from Congress at the time.

The Trump administration and its poodles in the Justice Department are arguing that the materials that provided the roadmap to impeach Nixon shouldn’t have been allowed. The judge hearing the case, Beryl Howell in the U.S. District Court in Washington said, “Wow.”

Wow, indeed. The White House and Justice Department are arguing that Nixon…should have gotten away with it. That obstructing justice is the president’s right. If this is allowed to stand, there are no more checks and balances and the president becomes an emperor.

The Justice Department argued that the House doesn’t have a right to the material, and in order to properly seek the grand jury material the House should first vote on a resolution authorizing a formal impeachment inquiry, and then seek the material through a judicial proceeding.

Trump and his goons in Congress and various talking heads on Trump TV argue Congress is violating the Constitution by impeaching without a resolution. They say Congress should follow the precedent set by the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the run-up to impeaching Nixon.

The cases on Nixon and Clinton had special counsels. The bulk of the investigating was done by the time it got to Congress’ impeachment inquiry. And if you want to follow precedent, then a president who blocks testimony and materials is obstructing justice. I mean, according to 1999 Lindsey Graham it is.

Douglas Letter, a lawyer for the Judiciary Committee, had a better argument than the lawyers at Justice. He said, “We are in an impeachment inquiry, an impeachment investigation, a formal impeachment investigation because the House says it is.” Letter’s argument is better because he’s right.

The Constitution doesn’t say the House has to vote on a resolution before it can talk about impeachment. That’s an imaginary rule created by Trump and his lawyers which is about as real as the rule it’s not cheating if you’re in another zip code. The House decides on impeachment. It’s not even a legal matter. It’s political. The House can conduct an impeachment investigation because the House says it is.

Trump is refusing to cooperate with the House until it votes on a resolution. That’s obstruction of justice and there’s no legal precedent that allows him to do it. Again, there is an impeachment because the House, as the Constitution allows, says it is. Done. Fact. Deal.

Trump is arguing Nixon should have gotten away with it because he’s trying to get away with it. This Congress should not let him get away with it.

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