As expected, Stephen Mnuchin refused to allow the IRS to furnish the House Ways and Means Committee with the Trump tax returns in response to a subpoena, setting up a legal battle that the House Democrats will surely win. The law is clear and unambiguous that the IRS must comply with a request from the House. But it will take a while for the courts to consider the situation.
At the same time, Attorney General William Barr ignored a subpoena to furnish the House Judiciary Committee with the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence, which Congress needs in order to fulfill their constitutional mandate to provide oversight. This also sets up a big court battle, and history is squarely on the side of the Democrats, but once again it could take a long time to enforce. Meanwhile the House is threatening to hold Barr in contempt of Congress, which would automatically place their subpoena in front of a judge to start the legal process.
In both cases, the administration is blatantly stonewalling and obstructing legitimate House oversight. Trump boasts about being the most transparent president ever when in fact he’s the most opaque. Based on his response to the Mueller report and its aftermath, it’s clear that Trump feels he has a lot to hide, and that’s what he’s trying desperately to do.
Meanwhile a group of over 450 former Justice Department prosecutors and attorney generals signed a letter yesterday stating that the Mueller report documents “multiple crimes of obstruction of justice” that they would recommend for indictment in any ordinary circumstance. The signers came from across the political spectrum, including many former Bush DOJ officials. It was a devastating document for Trump in the absence of testimony or clarity from the Mueller team itself (but it seems likely that Mueller will testify before Congress at some point soon, especially when his official role ends). It was also a devastating document for Barr, serving as a massive rebuke of his bogus legal position. Here is coverage from the Washington Post:
The Trump regime are a bunch of scofflaws because that’s what crooks do–they scoff at our laws. In Trump’s case, he has always felt himself above the law, and was often successful at avoiding consequences by counter-suing. But counter-suing Congress is not a smart or winning strategy. It’s now up to Congress and the courts to preserve the rule of law and reject attempts by Trump, Barr and Mnuchin to keep hidden documents that Congress has a right and an obligation to see.
Keep resisting and working to “vote his ass out of office.”