Jun 11, 2019

House votes to allow committees to enforce subpoenas in court

Attorney General Bill Barr and former White house counsel Don McGahn. Photo: Getty Images

The House voted 229-191 on a resolution Tuesday allowing the Judiciary Committee and other panels investigating the Trump administration to go to court to enforce their subpoenas.

Why it matters: The resolution is the House Democrats' most aggressive step yet against Trump's stonewalling of investigations in the post-Mueller world. It also comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to swat away growing calls for impeachment from within her caucus, pointing to a string of Democratic victories in court as vindication of her oversight strategy.

Details: The resolution authorizes House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to "initiate or intervene in judicial proceedings to enforce certain subpoenas and for other purposes." That includes...

  • A subpoena for Attorney General Bill Barr to turn over the full, unredacted Mueller report and its underlying materials.
  • A subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn, who has been blocked by the White House from cooperating, to turn over documents related to Trump's potential obstruction of justice.
  • A petition asking the court to release the 6(e) grand jury material redacted in the Mueller report.

Yes, but: As a result of a deal that the House Judiciary Committee reached with the Justice Department on Monday, it's unlikely that Nadler will immediately go to court to enforce his subpoena of Barr — even though he has been granted authorization.

The big picture: The resolution allows the chair of each "standing and permanent select committee" in the House to seek civil enforcement of their subpoenas in court. This newfound power is likely to be a factor as Democrats seek to obtain Trump's financial records, documents related to the Census citizenship question, White House security clearances and more.

Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings made a point of emphasizing the scale of the Trump administration’s non-cooperation during his remarks on the House floor.

“In the Oversight Committee, we have issued eight subpoenas.  Six of them are bipartisan.  And none of them is about Russia.  They involve issues like the Census, immigrant children separated from their families, and the President’s finances.
This entire year, the White House has not produced one document to the Oversight Committee.  Let me say that again—in all of our investigations, the White House has not turned over one single shred of paper in response to any of our requests.”

Read the full resolution:

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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 39 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 704,095 — Total deaths: 33,509 — Total recoveries: 148,824.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 132,637 — Total deaths: 2,351 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reported almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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