Teresa Hanafin writes the daily Fast Forward for the Boston Globe.

 

As he did with the Vietnam War, Trump has decided to sit out the House impeachment inquiry, using what constitutional experts say are bone spurs spurious arguments to claim that Democratic House leaders are conducting an illegitimate inquiry.

He not only is refusing to cooperate with the investigation, he also has declared war on Congress’s very right to investigate the executive branch. It’s a remarkable moment.

The result is that Trump is blocking all employees of the executive branch from testifying before Congress, will withhold every document Congress requests, and will ignore every subpoena that congressional committees issue. We’ll see today what the Dems do next.

Just remember this: Under the Constitution, the House is empowered to impeach, and can conduct an inquiry and hearings any way it wants. The president doesn’t get to tell the House what to do and how to do it.

Many of you have e-mailed me about the impeachment process. Think of it like a district attorney’s investigation and a grand jury. Several House committees (the prosecutors) are currently investigating to determine whether there are grounds for impeachment. If they decide they have enough evidence, they will write up articles of impeachment (charges) and present them to the full House (the grand jury) for a vote.

Nowhere in a grand jury process does the accused or his lawyers get to jump in, call witnesses, interview witnesses, subpoena witnesses, etc. It’s one-sided by design. And that’s also how a House impeachment process works.

So when Trump’s lawyer writes in his letter to House Democratic leaders that Trump is being denied “the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present,” he’s being disingenuous. He knows very well that all of those rights kick in at the impeachment trial, which would be held in the Senate.