May 9, 2019, Update:
Why Congress Had to Hold The Attorney General in Contempt
Mr. Trump is well known for his excitement about walls. He has implied and contended that his Office is superior to the other two branches of government and that both Congress and the Supreme Court should follow his marching steps. He often criticized Jeff Sessions for not being a wall to protect him from Congress and the Courts. He found someone to do just that, William Barr. It wasn’t difficult to find Barr. Barr wrote him an open engagement letter for an unholy alliance in June 2018.
So how does the Constitution sort all this out? The Supreme Court’s role is the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution as to both acts of the Executive Branch and acts of Congress. “the constitution is to be considered, in court, as a paramount law…” Marbury v. Madison ( 1 Cranch) at 178 (1803). Below are excerpts from the U.S. Constitution:
Section. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section. 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America…Before he enter on the Execution of his Office he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: – “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Section. 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court,
On May 8, 2019, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in Contempt. Below are the reasons stated in the bill.
Specifically, the Special Counsel noted the need not to “preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct,” affirmed that “Congress can validly make obstruction-of-justice statutes applicable to corruptly motivated official acts of the President,” and rejected President Trump’s “statutory and constitutional defenses to the potential application of the obstruction-of-justice statutes to the President’s conduct.” (page 14)
The investigation into the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Donald Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration and related concerns is being undertaken pursuant to the full authority of the Committee under Rule X(l) and applicable law. (page 18)
President Trump’s repeated efforts to obstruct and derail the Special Counsel’s investigations also pose grave concerns. Volume II of Special Counsel Mueller’s Report details “multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations.” The President’s efforts increased in intensity over time. Once he “became aware that his own conduct was being investigated in an obstruction-of-justice inquiry, he engaged in a second phase of conduct, involving public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation. (page 21)
The Mueller Report contains evidence that in the wake of an attack by a hostile nation against American democratic institutions, President Trump’s response was to undermine the investigation rather than take action against the perpetrators. The facts recounted in the Mueller Report make clear the Committee’s interest in obtaining further, more detailed information. For example, the Mueller Report states that when the President learned that he himself was under investigation for obstruction, the President “directed McGahn to call Rosenstein to have the Special Counsel removed. (page 22)
As the Special Counsel further noted, the Department has a policy against indicting a sitting president, which the Special Counsel “accepted for purposes of exercising prosecutorial jurisdiction.” Congress is therefore the only body able to hold the President to account for improper conduct in our tripartite system, and urgently requires the subpoenaed material to determine whether and how to proceed with its constitutional duty to provide checks and balances on the President and Executive Branch. Otherwise, the President remains insulated from legal consequences and sits above the law. As the Special Counsel emphasized, in our system, “no person in this country is so high that he is above the law.” (page 24)
May 1, 2019, Update:
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s heavily redacted report released by the Justice Department April 18, 2019, contradicts the prior letter offered as a summary of the report by Attorney General William Barr and his interview characterizing the report as completely clearing Mr. Trump. Robert Mueller notified William Barr in a letter dated March 27, 2019, that Barr’s summary did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of Mueller’s work and conclusions and Barr’s summary confused the public.