Doyle McManus, Tribune News Service
Tuesday’s vote in the House of Representatives to launch civil suits against Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn moves the battle between congressional Democrats and President Trump into an important new phase.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has embraced a quintessentially American form of dispute resolution: lawsuits. The Democrats’ message to the White House was clear: We’ll see you in court.
From now on, every Democratic chairman in the House can seek court orders against every recalcitrant witness in Trumpworld — a list that extends from current Cabinet members, such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, to former campaign officials like onetime campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
The vote was a victory for the steely speaker of the House that serves her purposes in several ways.
First, it gave fractious Democrats, from those who want to impeach Trump immediately to those who aren’t sure they want impeachment at all, a common strategy, at least temporarily.
Their focus in coming months will be to stage attention-grabbing hearings and dramatise their claims that the president has abused his power and obstructed justice, especially by highlighting the evidence collected by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Other hearings will scrutinise Trump’s byzantine financial dealings, his still-hidden tax returns, and his unusual dalliances with Russian officials. The goal is to expose wrongdoing, if any, and keep the misconduct in the public eye.
Second, by taking Trump and his aides to court, the Pelosi strategy pulls the president onto a battleground where he often fares badly. Most voters think of Congress as a useless swamp of squabbling pols, but still view federal courts as credible, impartial tribunals. If the courts begin handing down judgments against the president, that may move public opinion against him.
Trump could face a series of lose-lose dilemmas. If his aides are forced to turn over documents and testify, it will look like a defeat. But if the president refuses to comply with court orders, that could serve as new grounds for a potential impeachment.
Pelosi and her aides are gambling that they will win most of their lawsuits, of course. But her aides note they already have won two court cases with rulings that affirmed that Congress has broad power to seek testimony and evidence — even without formal impeachment proceedings.
“Courts must presume Congress is acting in furtherance of its constitutional responsibility to legislate and must defer to congressional judgments about what Congress needs,” US District Judge Amit Mehta wrote in an opinion last month.
Both the lawsuits and hearings serve Pelosi’s underlying strategy: to delay formal consideration of impeachment unless and until there’s more public support. For now, the pro-impeachment camp remains a distinct if vocal minority, about 60 House members in all. That’s about a fourth of the 235-member Democratic majority — enough to be troublesome for the speaker but not a full-blown insurgency. Most of the would-be impeachers represent solidly progressive Democratic districts, members like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York and Maxine Waters of Los Angeles.
Pelosi and her lieutenants warn that a rush to impeachment could endanger Democrats from more conservative areas, including 31 who represent districts Trump won in the 2016 presidential election. Pelosi hasn’t won entirely. She initially hoped to avoid being swept up in endless debate over impeachment, and to focus on passing legislation that would show voters how Democrats would govern.
That turned out to be unrealistic. Senate Republicans are in no mood to pass bills that Democrats could support on healthcare, immigration or education, and vice versa. And Trump’s tariff battles may have spoiled chances for a revised trade pact with Canada and Mexico.
So that leaves the investigations into Trump as the most dramatic actions the House is likely to tackle this year. They’ll avoid the I-word, most of the time — but there’ll still be inquiries into high crimes and misdemeanors: impeachment in slow motion.
Resident Jordan Lewis described the Belhaven neighbourhood as a quirky one, with residents decorating road signs and putting Christmas trees in potholes.
"The Lion King" maintained its reign over North American theaters, taking in $76.6 million over the three-day weekend, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Monday.
Wells Fargo & Co’s plan to bring in an outsider as its next chief executive could give the scandal-plagued bank a much needed fresh start, but a turnaround will not be easy for whoever takes the helm, analysts said. The fourth-largest US bank by assets said on Thursday that CEO Tim Sloan, a 31-year Wells Fargo veteran, would resign immediately and a committee would meet on Friday to start looking for a replacement from outside the bank.
Four high-profile freshmen members of Congress, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, dubbed the “Squad,” are making waves in Washington and rocking the status quo boat.
She got married to be happy, but joy didn’t recognise her. Her wish to write a hymn of love turned out to be a reluctant dirge. It’s another story that happiness is actually a myth,
Out of all the movie genres out there, one cannot deny the universal appeal of the romantic comedy. There is something irresistible about a romcom, in spite of what any critic might say or its box office success.
A motorist who meticulously follows traffic rules while driving not only saves his or her own life, but also of others. Caution is all that’s needed to avert dreaded road accidents. Life is too precious to die on the roads owing to human negligence. In this regard, the authorities in the UAE deserve praise for doing their best to instill discipline among