House could impeach Trump for a second time-Counsel
London, Dec. 24, 2019 (AltAfrica)-The House is open to the prospect of impeaching President Donald Trump a second time, lawyers for the Judiciary Committee said Monday.
House Counsel Douglas Letter said in a filing in federal court that a second impeachment could be necessary if the House uncovers new evidence that Trump attempted to obstruct investigations of his conduct. Letter made the argument as part of an inquiry by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals into whether Democrats still need testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn after the votes last week to charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“If McGahn’s testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offences that are not covered by the Articles approved by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly to impeach — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” Letter wrote.
It’s the first impeachment-related filing by the House since lawmakers voted, mostly along party lines, to impeach Trump over allegations stemming from efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals. It comes just hours after the Justice Department argued that the impeachment votes undercut lawmakers’ ongoing court case demanding testimony from McGahn, who was special counsel Robert Mueller’s central witness.
In a brief filed early Monday morning, DOJ lawyers acknowledge that the House’s approval of two articles of impeachment — focused on Trump’s alleged effort to withhold aid from Ukraine and his blockade of the House inquiry — do not render moot the legal fight over McGahn.
However, the Justice Department attorneys said the House Judiciary Committee’s decision to move forward with impeachment means there’s no longer urgency to resolve the House’s case. That bolsters the Trump administration’s argument that the courts should simply butt out of the legal showdown, the DOJ filing says.
“The reasons for refraining are even more compelling now that what the Committee asserted — whether rightly or wrongly — as the primary justification for its decision to sue no longer exists,” the DOJ lawyers wrote, without elaborating on that claim.
A second Justice Department brief in a related case — the Judiciary Committee’s demand for Mueller’s grand jury evidence — suggests without basis that the Judiciary Committee’s decision to advance articles of impeachment on the Ukraine scandal have effectively ruled out any effort to impeach the president based on Mueller’s evidence, therefore rendering the matter moot.
It’s unclear why the Justice Department argues that the committee has conceded that the Mueller impeachment investigation is over when House lawyers and lawmakers have described it as ongoing and active.
House lawyers indicated in advance of last week’s committee and floor votes that the panel planned to push on with its impeachment-related investigations. Democratic lawmakers who led the House impeachment inquiry have long contended that their efforts to gather more evidence would continue and that the timing of the impeachment vote reflected the urgency of the matter, not the conclusion of the effort to obtain witnesses and documents.
Letter’s new filing emphasizes the fact that nothing precludes the House from impeaching Trump again if it unearths new evidence, though no member of Democratic leadership has suggested such a course, particularly with a looming Senate trial and the presidential primary season imminent.