Top House Dem calls to launch impeachment inquiry if McGahn skips testimony

Rep. David CicillineDavid CicillineHillicon Valley —Apple is not a monopoly, judge rules Judge rules Apple is not 'illegal monopolist' in high-profile Epic case Democrats' Jan. 6 subpoena-palooza sets dangerous precedent MORE (D-R.I.) is raising the stakes surrounding the Trump administration's stonewalling of House Democrats, calling for an impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE if former White House counsel Don McGahn declines to testify before Congress on Tuesday.

"If Don McGahn does not testify tomorrow, it will be time to begin an impeachment inquiry of @realDonaldTrump," Cicilline tweeted. 

ADVERTISEMENT

If he follows through on the threat, Cicilline, the head of the Democrats' messaging arm, would be the highest-ranking Democrat to endorse a formal effort to launch the process of ousting of the president — a campaign that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Jan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE (D-Calif.) and other party leaders have sought to suppress since Trump took office more than two years ago. 

An overwhelming majority of Democrats support Pelosi's strategy, agreeing that impeachment is premature without more public support. They're pushing a series of aggressive investigations into the administration, including probes related to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections.

Yet the drumbeat toward impeachment has grown louder since Mueller's report was released. And the administration's aggressive resistance to cooperating with the Democrats' investigations has caused more and more lawmakers to inch in that direction. The McGahn episode marks the latest case. 

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee had issued a subpoena to compel McGahn's appearance before the panel to discuss Mueller's investigation. But Trump has vowed the administration will be "fighting all the subpoenas," and the Justice Department made good on that promise on Monday, releasing a 15-page letter asserting that McGahn is not "legally required" to appear. 

Cicilline, a Judiciary Committee member, has for months declined to endorse the push for impeaching Trump, and he voted against two impeachment-related measures on the House floor in late 2017 and early 2018. But the possibility of McGahn defying the Democrats' subpoena appears to be his tipping point. 

Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocratic bill would force Fed to defund fossil fuels Democrats brace for battle on Biden's .5 trillion spending plan 'Squad' members call on Biden to shut down Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota MORE (D-Mich.) had introduced a resolution in March requiring the Judiciary Committee to begin looking into impeachment. Before Mueller's report became public, only Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThousands march on Washington in voting rights push Rental aid emerges as new housing fight after eviction ban Rep. Al Green, Texas state lawmaker arrested outside Capitol during voting rights protest MORE (D-Texas) had endorsed her bill. After the report was released, six others quickly signed on. 

The resolution does not launch impeachment, per se, but asks the Judiciary Committee to investigate the president for potentially impeachable offenses. Supporters say it puts a finer point on the probes into potential administrative wrongdoing — and would lay the groundwork if the probes turn-up behavior that makes impeachment inevitable. 

"It's seems clear to me that we need to be able to get to the bottom of this thing. The administration clearly is not going to help at all making it harder to be able to wade through this," said Rep. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerPhotos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Bottom line American workers need us to get this pandemic under control around the world MORE (D-Ore), who has endorsed Tlaib's bill.

"Our job, is to be able to explore the ramifications, lay the foundation for what might happen, and if you don't lay the foundation, it won't."