Congressional subpoenas are a vital investigative and legal tool compelling witnesses to provide information, allowing Congress to fulfill its constitutional duties of oversight.
Yet under President Donald Trump's administration, subpoenas have been rendered all but decorative. Most recently, the White House instructed staff not to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking information in the impeachment inquiry against the President.
On Tuesday morning, Trump's bulwark against accountability earned Trump an article of impeachment for obstruction of Congress, reading:
"Donald J. Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its 'sole Power of Impeachment.'"
But Attorney General William Barr—whose job it is to uphold the law of the land—is defending the White House's defiance.
Attorney General William Barr says he doesn't consider President Trump's direction to defy subpoenas obstruction of… https://t.co/QvGoJOHgM6— CNN Politics (@CNN Politics) 1576003673.0
At a Wall Street Journal event, Barr insisted that the President has the privilege to defy subpoenas:
"I don't consider that obstruction. I don't believe it's the case that where somebody, including a branch of government, is asserting a legal privilege that they have under the law that that constitutes obstruction."
People were quick to correct him.
Congressional oversight authority includes its subpoena power. Refusing to comply with a Congressional subpoena is… https://t.co/4mAkiHf8oJ— Nikki Navaille 💙 ✊ (@Nikki Navaille 💙 ✊) 1576004468.0
Contempt of Congress, was in the articles against Nixon, who defied subpoenas and defined as willfully failing to p… https://t.co/C13kXFgkIx— Bruce McElvenny (@Bruce McElvenny) 1576005692.0
Can someone explain to me - like I don't have a degree in History/Social Sciences - how denying a subpoena and ref… https://t.co/N1rTmWRpIK— Andy Goveia (@Andy Goveia) 1576003943.0
People were astounded to hear the defense from an Attorney General.
I used to think the most corrupt AGs I would see in my lifetime were Mitchell (Nixon) and Meese (Reagan). I had no… https://t.co/eoJ7INhGFw— Police State (@Police State) 1576004526.0
Let me ask, @SenateGOP , do you still think it was a good choice to confirm him? Are you not scared of the precede… https://t.co/QvbjM6pNlr— El Gringo Viejo (@El Gringo Viejo) 1576004957.0
Barr should also be impeached. He's a danger to this country. https://t.co/IhYdcBw5JA— ⛄️🎁 Taryn Kincaid 🎁⛄️ (@⛄️🎁 Taryn Kincaid 🎁⛄️) 1576006540.0
Strange times we are in... https://t.co/tVtlymdye8— M Secright (@M Secright) 1576005277.0
The corruption is real.