Why has the Judiciary Committee not yet declared an impeachment inquiry?

Today, Politico put out this article in which pro- and slo-impeachment Dems speak on the record about what’s going on and why it’s going on.

It’s illuminating. A few extracts with a little bit of my bolding:

House Democrats say they are also focused on meticulously building a record of the Trump administration’s resistance to their investigations in order to help persuade a court to rule in their favor and break the White House blockade. Rushing into it, they say, could backfire — even as angst on the left has begun to swell.

“…meticulously building a record…” Depending on the volume of evidentiary documents and case law, building a record (with a limited staff of lawyers) and writing the brief can take months.

They’re not stalling; they’re working, hard and long.

Democrats acknowledge that the only way to knock down the administration’s blockade of Mueller’s obstruction witnesses — from former White House counsel Don McGahn to former longtime aide Hope Hicks — is to win in federal court.

“…we’ve never seen an administration that, across every cabinet official, from the top down throughout the administration, there was utter disdain for the rule of law,” added Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), who supports launching an impeachment inquiry. “So in a sense, they’ve laid down such a gauntlet for the Congress that we don’t have any precedent for dealing with this level of lawlessness.”

“Unfortunately, this is the process that we must adhere to,” [Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.)] lamented. “It is in accordance with the rule of law, which ironically the executive branch is trampling. But we can’t get down in the mud and trample our Constitution and our laws along with the administration.”

Some Democrats also fear that despite having a strong hand in court, they might end up in front of unfriendly judges who could restrict congressional oversight powers in far-reaching ways. The line between the White House’s assertions of secrecy and Congress’ demands for information are ill-defined and have rarely been tested.

When Richard Neal, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, filed a federal lawsuit to get Trump’s taxes, a judge was randomly assigned to the case. That judge, Trevor McFadden, was nominated by Trump and put on the court by Mitch McConnell.

“This is very serious business, so when we go to court, we absolutely have to win,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a member of the Judiciary Committee. “So that’s why we’re making sure we have bulletproof cases when we do go to court.”

Meanwhile, during all this hugely complex effort, the House will vote this week “to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas for information about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.” And already put forth a resolution condemning Trump for his racism.

Things are happening. The mills of Congress grind slowly but they grind exceeding small.


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