(Washington) This is a critical week for a parliamentary committee investigating the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill that focused on the role played by former President Donald Trump. But expectations were turned upside down.
Former billionaire Republican adviser Steve Bannon and former security adviser Kash Patel are due to be heard on Thursday. Former chiefs of staff Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino, who were previously responsible for social networks, are due to be questioned the next day.
However, Donald Trump confirmed and highlighted the limitations of Congress’ investigative power when no one refused to be held accountable, after exercising his executive right to prevent certain information from being testified.
The House of Representatives Committee has repeatedly promised to crack down on people who do not respond to their summons and has announced that it has initiated legal action against Steve Bannon.
The Commission has so far achieved only moderate success. Former United States Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen has testified to Mr Trump’s pressure to involve his department in the former president’s misinformation campaign on voter fraud.
But, critics, Congress has failed to stop Mr. Trump from obstructing his investigation.
According to Fiona Hill, a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former collaborator of the billionaire, her lies about her distrust of Congress and electoral fraud are a “slow motion coup”.
There are a number of legal ways Congress can take to thwart the Trump camp’s machinations. But the former reality TV star, who has twice been charged in Congress and twice acquitted, can use a number of tricks.
The Supreme Court has ruled that presidents have the right to keep certain documents and discussions secret, and Donald Trump is far from the first person to take advantage of this.
In order to deny Congress access to the entire M ముller report on Russian interference in the US elections, he first launched these executive rights in 2019.
However it is usually the current tenant of the Oval Office, not his ancestor, who decides when this right applies. However, Joe Biden has so far denied Donald Trump’s claims.
The 75-year-old New Yorker is determined to oppose every subpoena and this fight will take months, not years, to go to the Supreme Court if necessary.
Interruption to the work of Congress
Historically, Congress has bypassed the courts by obstructing the work of Congress.
This method has not been used against an executive for over 80 years.
Steve Bannon is being prosecuted on simple criminal charges of obstructing the work of Congress under the 1857 Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison for a federal offense.
A House vote is required to bring this matter to the attention of the Department of Justice.
But in 1984, the department said it would not prosecute executives for obstructing congressional work based on the executive’s right to keep certain information confidential.
Even if it is not, authorities rarely resort to it. Since 2008, the House has cited at least six current and former White House officials, but no action has been taken.
“Because of this discretion, obstructing the work of Congress is almost useless,” the Congressional Research Service said in a report last year.
Although Attorney General Merrick Garland approved the lawsuits, it could take months.
A third option is possible: resorting to civil proceedings before the courts.
Congress may ask a federal judge to execute its own federal judge – witnesses who challenge them will obstruct proper justice.
But time, again, is a problem here.