I love the smell of a constitutional crisis in the morning. It smells like perfidy.
We’ve had quite a week here, folks. Take a look at the highlights, from The Point, which is CNN’s Chris Cillizza’s newsletter:
The House Judiciary Committee voted this week to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt for his refusal to turn over the full, unredacted Mueller report.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) on Friday issued subpoenas in order to get President Donald Trump’s past tax returns.
The White House barred former counsel Don McGahn from complying with a subpoena to testify on Capitol Hill.
Trump invoked executive privilege over the entire Mueller report
The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr.
As I predicted pre-midterms, when the Democrats regain the House, subpoenas are going to be flying at the White House like bats, and indeed that is the case. The most recent subpoena of interest was to Trump’s namesake spawn. True to form and to his name, rather than manning up and just complying with the thing (as the yous and mes would do, automatically, because we have no choice) Junior is exploring which path is the best one to run away down. USA Today:
One option is to ignore it entirely and let the GOP-led panel decide if they want to vote to hold him in contempt of Congress, a move the source expected would be unlikely to make it through the Republican majority in the full Senate, even if it did pass the Intelligence Committee. Trump Jr. is also considering invoking in writing his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions that lead to self-incrimination. Finally, he would be open to a possible compromise that could include written responses to questions, the source said.
Now here’s the part that’s going to blow your mind. Even other Republicans, who are so groomed to toady to the whims of the Trump White House, are backing up Senator Burr and his subpoena.
Not all Republicans were critical of Burr. After the GOP lunch Thursday – where the subpoena came up – a stream of senators, including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, came out and announced they had “great confidence” in Burr with whatever decision he made.
Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican member of the Intelligence Committee, reiterated that Burr has said there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government and the chairman was “just trying to be sure that everybody’s asked all the questions” needed before proceeding.
“Mueller’s was a criminal justice investigation. Ours is an intelligence investigation about the Russia threat and about the way our agencies performed,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
And it goes without saying, Trump Senior views all this as ongoing “presidential harassment,” and has busily retweeted all the comments that the Trump lap dogs in Congress have provided. Here’s a sample.
Byrne says, “there are real issues in our country” to be dealt with — oh, and election interference isn’t one of them? With another presidential election on the horizon? No, I guess not, when the interfering party from the last election is gaining more traction in the Oval Office all the time.
Cillizza said this about the past week’s developments in Washington:
Here’s a way to think about the current state of affairs in political Washington: Two cars are speeding toward each other. They started a mile from each other at the start of the week. Now they are 100 feet from one another. And both drivers just keep pushing down on the gas pedal. […]
But here’s what is certain: None of this is good or healthy for our body politic. No matter the result of this game of chicken, one side — and maybe both sides! — will feel hard done and, as a result, will paint the results as either biased or something short of definitive. Which, in turn, will further erode people’s confidence in our system of government and the people they have elected to represent them.
Cillizza says this isn’t going to end well and I wholeheartedly agree.