With congressional Democrats in power, it’s been a busy first few months of the year as they use the legislative branch’s broad powers to bring people into stuffy rooms and ask them questions to remarkably good effect. The Trump administration, however, is not cooperating. Shocker.
In a story on Wednesday, Politico reports the Trump administration is stalling wildly on every front, including either delaying or outright refusing to turn over documents related to different investigations by a dozen House committees.
In total, the administration has 30 times refused or delayed turning over documents to 12 House committees. They include Natural Resources, Energy and Commerce and Foreign Affairs, according to a House Democratic document obtained by POLITICO. In one case, the IRS not only failed to provide documents but removed information from its website related to the issue, according to the document.
Six administration officials refused to appear before five committees while two officials have refused to come in for interviews with two other committees, according to the document.
The Trump administration is likely using this borrowed time to prepare legal arguments against the Democrats’ investigations, many of which were kicked off by Michael Cohen’s detailed testimony before the House Oversight Committee last week (which Republicans tried in earnest to derail).
It’s worth noting that none of these requests are formal subpoenas yet—several of the major House committees, including Oversight and Intelligence, have subpoena power, but aren’t flexing it just yet. Instead, they’re making detailed notes of what documents the administration refuses to turn over and who refuses to show up, building solid cases for possible subpoenas down the line.
But this spirit of non-cooperation means this entire exercise is going to drag on and on, well into the 2020 news cycle, which the Trump administration is likely hoping will play in their favor as the president gets to rail against the corrupt Democrats and their “witch hunts”—and use his new line about “presidential harassment”—on every campaign stop while legislators sift through mountains of documents and field legal challenges. Sounds like a blast!