Democrats control the entire federal government.
Nancy Pelosi was expecting smooth sailing in Congress.
But Nancy Pelosi got slapped with a lawsuit she never expected. She’s desperate to keep out of court.
Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 Committee is attempting to force Mark Meadows, former Chief of Staff to President Trump, to turn over all conversations he had with Trump about the events that occurred at the Capitol.
Meadows refused, citing Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege as his reason.
And after Pelosi threatened to hold Meadows in contempt of court and refer him for criminal prosecution, he filed a lawsuit alleging the entire January 6 Committee itself was unconstitutional.
However, according to the lawsuit, Congress’ subpoena power must come in the service of a legitimate legislative purpose.
And as Meadows pointed out, Congress cannot just conduct fact-finding expeditions or usurp the executive branch’s power to conduct criminal investigations.
“The Select Committee acts absent any valid legislative power and threatens to violate longstanding principles of executive privilege and immunity that are of constitutional origin and dimension. Without intervention by this Court, Mr. Meadows faces the harm of both being illegally coerced into violating the Constitution and having a third party involuntarily violate Mr. Meadows rights and the requirements of relevant laws governing records of electronic communications,” the lawsuit read.
By rejecting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s selection, ranking member Indiana Congressman Jim Banks, Meadows argued that Pelosi effectively violated the committee’s own authorizing resolution.
The rules only allow a Minority Leader to appoint a ranking member, and given that the committee has no ranking member, any subpoena request is thus invalidated.
“The Speaker shall appoint 13 Members to the Select Committee, 5 of whom shall be appointed after consultation with the Minority Leader” [emphasis added]. Moreover, the resolution says that subpoenas ‘shall’ only be issued in consultation with the committee’s ranking minority member, and there is no ranking minority member,” the lawsuit adds.
“Authorized congressional committees have subpoena authority implied by Article I of the Constitution. […] The Select Committee, however, is not an authorized congressional committee because it fails to comport with its own authorizing resolution, House Resolution 503,” the lawsuit concluded.
If Republicans win back control of Congress in 2022, Pelosi’s committee will cease to exist in 2023.
Democrats wanted to have the report wrapped up by next spring so they could use it in the midterm elections.
But Meadows’ lawsuit is dragging out the proceedings.
And the clock could potentially run out on Democrats.
Political Animal News will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.