The White House’s stance of noncooperation in regard to the “formal impeachment inquiry” was seemingly unmistakable – the West Wing made that extremely clear during the run-up to the House vote on a resolution that provided guidelines for the future of the probe.
The Democrats conducting this latest escalation of investigation knew this, and have planned accordingly by exclaiming that any defiance of their subpoenas would be considered an act of obstruction like to be added to the articles of impeachment, if and when that maneuver is executed.
So, this means that the Democrats are highly unlikely to use their congressional powers of contempt to compel witnesses to take the stand. This has made it very easy to call their bluff, especially with the Senate unlikely to allow the impeachment process to continue once they have their say.
It is also why two more White House officials told the Democrats exactly where they could shove their subpoenas today.
Two White House officials skipped their scheduled impeachment inquiry testimony behind closed doors Tuesday, reportedly defying their subpoenas to appear.
In a new U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) memo that came to light on Tuesday, the Trump administration argued that Democrat impeachment investigators’ attempt to compel testimony from executive branch officials are “legally invalid” unless they allow government attorneys to accompany the witnesses.
“The assistance of agency counsel” is needed because testimony has the potential to disclose information “protected by executive privilege,” the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel noted in a memo dated November 1.
So long as the left side of the aisle continues to ignore their contempt powers in this fight, it is unlikely that the White House will be sending anyone to be grilled.
Today’s defiance is just more proof of that.