House Judiciary Democrats Pushed Pelosi on Impeachment Following McGahn Move
During a weekly leadership meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, top Democratic lawmakers urged her to allow them to open an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The basis for the inquiry was primarily to allow Congress to conduct its investigations without the current stonewalling put up against subpoena orders by the White House, a source with knowledge of the meeting said, according to reporting from NBC News.
“It was a big debate, and was long and very emotional,” that source added.
Reps. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), and Joe Neguse (D-Colorado) were among those who argued in favor of launching the inquiry, especially in the event that Trump’s former White House counsel Don McGahn refuses to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) — all members of the Democratic leadership — pushed to begin impeachment proceedings during a leadership meeting in Pelosi's office, said the sources. https://t.co/X0rKmL00Qm
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) May 21, 2019
McGahn has indicated that, per a White House order citing executive privilege, he won’t be making an appearance, per reporting from The Daily Beast.
“[T]he President has unambiguously directed my client not to comply with the Committee’s subpoena for testimony,” McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, said. “In the event an accommodation is agreed between the Committee and the White House, Mr. McGahn will of course comply with that accommodation.”
Although all three House leaders cited this stonewalling to support opening an impeachment inquiry, not everyone is on board with attempting to impeach the president — the inquiry itself is being floated as a possible means to get the White House to comply with subpoenas, or if they don’t, to serve as a work-around to get the information committees in Congress are seeking.
Raskin, for example, stated during the meeting that he’s not in favor of impeaching the president at this time, but that impeachment proceedings could force Trump’s hand, requiring him to hand over documents the White House has so far refused to give to Congress.
During the meeting among Democratic leaders, Pelosi herself suggested she was reluctant to use such methods at this time. “We still have unexhausted avenues here,” she reportedly said.