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House eases path to legal action over subpoenas

by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 6/12/19, 12:10 pm

WASHINGTON—The Democratic-majority U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to authorize a resolution allowing House committees to take legal action against officials who resist subpoenas. The vote was 229-191 strictly along party lines, with 13 abstentions. The resolution specifically mentions Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn. The House on Monday voted to hold both in contempt of Congress for not responding to subpoenas.

“This vote is an unprecedented consolidation of power,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., in a statement. “Speaker Pelosi will have authority to bypass the traditional House subpoena process and bring President Trump and administration officials to court on behalf of the entire House. Members deserve a voice in these matters.”

A committee chairperson “retains the ability to initiate or intervene in any judicial proceeding before a federal court on behalf of such committee,” according to the resolution. The House Judiciary Committee already plans to launch legal action against McGahn.

“Congress must fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect our democracy and those who refuse to comply with subpoenas are harming and hindering the oversight and review obligations required by our constitution,” Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., said in a statement.

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Kyle Ziemnick

Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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