Trump and the Democrats’ ‘subpoena cannon’

Ilya Shapiro writes for the Washington Examiner about the impact for the Trump administration of Democrats’ upcoming takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives.

With Democrats seizing the House and Republicans keeping the Senate, bills beyond the proverbial post-office-naming will be hard-pressed to make it out of both chambers in the next Congress. The threat President Trump faces from Democrats, then, isn’t legislative obstruction, but the ready-aim-fire of the opposition’s “subpoena cannon.”

That’s the term one senior Democratic source used last month in describing to Axios the opposition’s main anti-Trump weapon. Not all of the investigatory weapon’s payload will be fired at once, but the appetite for “resistance” is strong and will tie up significant White House and agency resources. (Full disclosure: My wife is a lawyer in the House general counsel’s office, but hasn’t participated in any discussions regarding the Democrats’ plans.)

In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with spending time on congressional oversight. Indeed it’s a salutary check, flowing from the “legislative powers” that Article I grants Congress. …

… Axios counted “at least 85” potential House investigation goals. Those include 59 subpoena requests that Democrats on the Oversight Committee had already submitted (and Republicans had blocked), 18 more that came from a leaked GOP spreadsheet in September, and assorted others mentioned to the media by incoming Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and incoming Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey.

Their subject matter ranges from President Trump’s business relationship with Russia to his negotiations with North Korea, the administration’s targeting of the press to the initiation of the Space Force. Many of the issues are interrelated, so we shouldn’t get fixated on the total number of subpoenas.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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