Judiciary Committee Hints It Could Move To Impeach Trump Again On Additional Grounds
In a new court filing, House Democrats hint they might move to impeach the President again if the evidence warrants such action.
In a legal filing, the House Judiciary Committee is hinting that it could decide to draft new Articles of Impeachment against the President on charges unrelated to the Ukraine scandal:
The House Judiciary Committee held open the possibility Monday of recommending additional articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as it pressed anew for the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn.
The committee wants a federal appeals court to order McGahn to testify as it examines potential obstruction of justice by the president during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The committee says McGahn’s testimony could also be useful for any Senate impeachment trial.
A judge last month directed McGahn to comply with the House Judiciary Committee subpoena, and a Washington-based appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments Jan. 3.
In a court filing Monday, lawyers for the committee said McGahn’s testimony remains essential even though the House has already voted to impeach Trump on two charges related to his interactions with Ukraine rather than on actions uncovered during Mueller’s Russia probe.
“If McGahn’s testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the Articles approved by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” lawyers for the Democratic-led committee wrote.
The committee also said McGahn’s testimony is important for the committee’s oversight role of the FBI and the Justice Department, “including in determining whether those agencies are operating free from improper political interference.”
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn well before the start this fall of an impeachment inquiry centered around Trump’s request to Ukraine’s president that he investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son, as well as an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory alleging Ukraine’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
There is, of course, nothing in the Constitution that says that the House of Representatives only gets one bite at the apple when it comes to the impeachment of a President. This is certainly true if one is referring to impeachment based on conduct unrelated to what the House has already voted on. Considering what this President has done, that could include matters such as the Russia investigation, the President’s pre-election involvement in a conspiracy with his former lawyer Michael Cohen to violate campaign finance laws, and the issues raised by the Emoluments Clauses. Additionally, while one could make an argument that an effort to impeach a President on grounds that were rejected by the Senate could be barred on what lawyer call res judicata grounds, one could make the argument that additional charges arising out of the Ukraine scandal could also potentially be brought if additional evidence is uncovered. The Constitution is silent on this issue and essentially leaves the House as the sole arbiter of what is and isn’t an impeachable offense. The Federal Courts literally have no jurisdiction in the matter.
That being said, the politics of additional impeachment charges would likely be difficult for House Democrats absent clear and convincing evidence. Once the Senate does conduct its trial and the matter ends in the inevitable and expected acquittal, many voters will no doubt be eager to move along to the election. This is especially true given the fact that election season will be beginning once the trial ends. At that point, there are likely to be many people arguing that Congress ought to leave the matter to the voters. Of course, if Trump is re-elected there would be nothing stopping Congress from taking another crack at impeachment, but they still ought to be careful about doing so given the fact that we already have a public that quite honestly seems to be bored by the entire process.