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Congress can't let Trump win his fight against oversight

By Robert B. Reich, Tribune Content Agency on

On Sunday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), threatened to subpoena Attorney General William Barr if he refuses to testify this week about the Mueller report.

But a subpoena is unlikely to elicit Barr's cooperation. "We're fighting all the subpoenas," says the president of the United States.

In other words, there is to be no congressional oversight of this administration: No questioning the attorney general about the Mueller report. No questioning a Trump adviser about immigration policy, either.

No questioning a former White House security director about issuances of security clearances. No questioning anyone about presidential tax returns.

Such a blanket edict fits a dictator of a banana republic, not the president of a constitutional republic founded on separation of powers.

If Congress cannot question the people who are making policy, or obtain critical documents, Congress cannot function as a coequal branch of government.

 

If Congress cannot get information about the executive branch, there is no longer any separation of powers, as sanctified in the U.S. Constitution.

There is only one power -- the power of the president to rule as he wishes. Which is what Donald Trump has sought all along.

The only relevant question is how stop this dictatorial move.

Presidents before Donald Trump occasionally have argued that complying with a particular subpoena for a particular person or document would infringe upon confidential deliberations within the executive branch.

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