House Judiciary Committee, Robert Muller, Jerry Nadler discussed on The Lawfare Podcast
Shorts. January thirty first two thousand nineteen today. An article that we ran this morning on l'affaire entitled what an old Watergate document can teach the House Judiciary committee by me. The chairman of the house committee on the judiciary faced a vexing problem pressure for impeachment was building. But while lots of evidence against the president was public key pieces of it were not they were rather in the hands of a special prosecutor who didn't work for congress. The prosecutor's job was to prosecute crimes not to evaluate the president's fitness for office that ladder job lay with the chairman and his committee who didn't have access to the prosecutor's evidence. So the House Judiciary committee chairman wrote a letter requesting that the evidence be turned over, quote, the house and the judiciary committee are under control. Rolling constitutional obligation and commitment to act expeditiously in carrying out. Their solemn constitutional duty wrote chairman Peter Regino in a letter dated March eighth nineteen seventy four to John, Sarah. The chief judge of the US district court for the district of Columbia. It was Redeina said the quote committee's view that in constitutional terms. It would be unthinkable if this material were kept from the house of representatives in the course of the discharge of its most awesome, constitutional responsibility, unquote. I have a suggestion for Jerry Nadler, the current occupant of regina's old office he should consider taking a page from his predecessors book and formally requesting a referral of possible impeachment material. Not ler. Circumstances are admittedly a bit different from regina's, but the similarities are striking to and regina's course, suggests a way forward for Nadler that is worth serious consideration it boils down to this if Nadler and his committee want the evidence in the hands of special counsel, Robert Muller that is relevant to their performance of their own constitutional function. They should start by formally asking Muller to refer it to them. I ran across regina's letter in a passing reference in my recent research on the Watergate roadmap. The grand jury report that Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jawara ski referred to the House Judiciary committee in nineteen seventy four specifically Ceric mentioned the letter in his opinion approving the transmission of war skis impeachment referral quote. The House Judiciary committee through its chairman has made a formal request for delivery of the report materials the opinion says a footnote in support of this point footnote number four sites the Rudeina letter specifically along with a hearing transcript the national archive has made both of these documents public and we posted them on law. Fair this morning. Let's acknowledge up front the differences between regina's circumstances and Nadler's regina's committee already had an open impeachment inquiry authorized by nearly unanimous four hundred. Ten to four vote in the house of representatives Nadler's committee by contrast has no open impeachment inquiry. Indeed democratic leaders insist they have no plans to impeach President Trump and are waiting on the evidence from Muller before making any decisions about how to proceed as Nadler himself recently. Put it, quote, we have to see what the Muller report says, unquote. He added we have to get the facts, we will see where the facts lead maybe that will lead to impeachment. Maybe it won't it is much too early unquote. Perhaps more importantly Jawara ski. Unlike Muller was ready to provide material to the house, the Watergate grand jury had specifically prepared the report for purposes of transmitting it to the House Judiciary committee in support of the impeachment inquiry by contrast Muller is keeping things. Very quiet. He presumably doesn't want congressional activity to interfere with his investigation. And he's evidently, not look. To jump start congressional investigations that will want to talk to his witnesses. Indeed, it's not even clear if Muller believes he has information that he would want the House Judiciary committee to examine pursuant to its obligations under the impeachment clauses. So if I sit in short to say that at the present time, neither the supply side, nor the demand side of this equation is as mature as it was in nineteen seventy four. And yet as I say the similarities between the situations strike me as alternately more substantial than the differences for one thing. The structural arrangement is very similar once again, the judiciary committee has the impeachment thority, but not the evidence while the prosecutor has the evidence, but not the authority to think beyond the narrowly criminal in critical respects, the current interational of this problem is actually worse than it was in Watergate back then after all the Senate Watergate committee had done its own extensive investigations key witnesses had testified publicly and the broad parameters of the story were thus known..