In his opening statement on the first day of impeachment hearings within the House Judiciary Committee, chair Rep. Jerry Nadler highlighted the many ways in which the Trump administration refused to cooperate with the inquiry that began two months ago.
Nadler criticized the administration, and President Donald Trump specifically, for attempts that have been made from the start of the inquiry to limit evidence being handed to a co-equal branch of government.
“No other president has vowed to ‘fight all of the subpoenas’ as president trump promised,” Nadler stated, going on to point out that, although some efforts to fight subpoenas were made, ultimately both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton relented and agreed to submit evidence that was requested of them.
“In the 1974 impeachment proceedings, President Nixon produced dozens of recordings,” Nadler said, per a video tweet from Vox’s Aaron Rupar. “In 1998, President Clinton physically gave his blood.”
"This administration's level of obstruction is without precedent" — Jerry Nadler opens things up by comparing Trump unfavorably with Nixon pic.twitter.com/WLqsU16ScT
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 4, 2019
These proceedings have seen a difference in transparency choices by the president, Nadler explained. “President Trump, by contrast, has refused to produce a single document, and directed every witness not to testify,” the House Judiciary chair said.
As part of the investigation into his alleged lying to investigators regarding an affair he had with Monica Lewinsky, Clinton agreed in 1998 to submit blood to conduct DNA tests against stains that were on a blue dress that was owned by the former White House intern, TIME magazine reported.
In early October, as the impeachment inquiry was just getting started, the Trump administration announced it would not take part in the process, refusing to cooperate with legally binding subpoenas issued by House investigators. Democrats responded by saying that they viewed Trump’s refusal as “obstruction of the impeachment inquiry,” reporting from the Washington Post detailed.
Among the chief complaints of the Trump administration was that it was not granted a lawyer to participate in the hearings themselves. After the House Judiciary Committee invited the administration to have counsel present at the hearings this week, however, including allowing said counsel to ask questions of witnesses present, the White House still opted not to participate, continuing to complain that the process was not “fair” to Trump.