Trump subpoena delay was a huge mistake by House committee

Adrienne Lawrence
Liberal Opinion

Adrienne Lawrence

Legal commentator
Archive |

The Jan. 6 committee’s decision to subpoena former President Donald Trump was a historic move. However, most experts do not expect the former president to show up to testify before a panel that he has repeatedly criticized and dismissed as a witch hunt. The upcoming midterm elections, in which Republicans are favored to regain control of the House, may play a key role in how Trump responds.

Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence warns that the delay in issuing the Trump subpoena was a huge mistake by the House committee because Trump is likely to try and run out the clock until the midterms.

For several reasons, subpoenaing Donald Trump at this point appears to be a mere performative antic that does not advance We The People, but will cost us considerably. Let me explain. As we all know, Trump abuses the legal system – particularly when it comes to dodging accountability. He proffers untenable arguments and makes frivolous claims, drowning his opponents in filing after filing. This strategy is an effective one when it comes to avoiding accountability because it promotes delay. 

Over the span of time during which Trump drags his feet in court, seeking continuances and extensions, something very noteworthy happens beyond just amassing legal fees. Power changes. In this situation, the power in Congress is forecasted to change while Trump delays. And that’s what he’s likely hoping for. The midterm elections are right around the corner. Early polls indicate that Republicans may take over the House. If that nightmare comes to fruition, do you really think that the House committee subpoenaing Trump’s involvement in the January 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol will continue? 

Do you really think GOP representatives will persist in ensuring justice is done here? If so, I have beachfront property in Utah that I would love to show you. Seriously. If Republicans take the House come January 2023 when the proverbial “congressional guards” change, the Trump subpoena will be kaput. All Trump needs to do is delay another few months, which will not be hard for numerous reasons. For instance, case law is murky on the matter of whether a former president has to comply with a Congressional subpoena for actions he engaged in while in office. 

Trump’s bound to exploit the holes in the jurisprudence via motions, appeals, Supreme Court petitions. And we know how it can take months, if not years, for our legal system to actually act. Plus, even if his legal challenges are exhausted, it’s going to be exhausting waiting for Attorney General Merrick Garland to decide whether to pursue charges against the former president, especially if he tries to evade congressional subpoenas here. 

Remember: Contempt of Congress, it’s a misdemeanor. If the U.S. Attorney isn’t inclined to charge Trump for all of the classified documents he clearly stole, I doubt DOJ would pursue misdemeanor charges against him. 

Donald Trump has finally been subpoenaed by the house committee investigating his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. As much as this subpoena is extraordinary given the circumstances, the former president has never been big on complying with legal mandates so I don’t expect him to comply with this congressional subpoena, either. 

 And it’s likely that Congress doesn’t expect him to comply. For several reasons, subpoenaing Donald Trump at this point appears to be a mere performative antic that does not advance We The People, but will cost us considerably. Let me explain. As we all know, Trump abuses the legal system – particularly when it comes to dodging accountability. He proffers untenable arguments and makes frivolous claims, drowning his opponents in filing after filing. This strategy is an effective one when it comes to avoiding accountability because it promotes delay. 

Over the span of time during which Trump drags his feet in court, seeking continuances and extensions, something very noteworthy happens beyond just amassing legal fees. Power changes. In this situation, the power in Congress is forecasted to change while Trump delays. And that’s what he’s likely hoping for. The midterm elections are right around the corner. Early polls indicate that republicans may take over the House. If that nightmare comes to fruition, do you really think that the House Committee subpoenaing Trump’s involvement in the January 6th insurrection on the U.S. Capitol will continue? 

Do you really think GOP representatives will persist in ensuring justice is done here? If so, I have beachfront property in Utah that I would love to show you. Seriously. If republicans take the House come January 2023 when the proverbial “congressional guards” change, the Trump subpoena will be kaput. All Trump needs to do is delay another few months, which will not be hard for numerous reasons. 

For instance, case law is murky on the matter of whether a former president has to comply with a Congressional subpoena for actions he engaged in while in office. 

Trump’s bound to exploit the holes in the jurisprudence via motions, appeals, Supreme Court petitions. And we know how it can take months, if not years, for our legal system to actually act. Plus, even if his legal challenges are exhausted, it’s going to be exhausting waiting for Attorney General Merrick Garland to decide whether to pursue charges against the former president, especially if he tries to evade congressional subpoenas here. 

Remember: Contempt of Congress, it’s a misdemeanor. If the U.S. Attorney isn’t inclined to charge Trump for all of the classified documents he clearly stole, I doubt DOJ would pursue misdemeanor charges against him. 

It gave former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows a pass so I’m sure DOJ would do it for Trump here. All said, I predict Trump will probably just clog the matter in the court system for far longer than the Democrats will control the House. 

So in the wake of an anticipated power shift, why did the House Committee wait so damn long to subpoena the former president, knowing good and well that he’s a mastermind of litigious delay and knowing good and well how our justice system works? 

I can’t answer that question without speculatively undermining the committee’s true goals here. But I can damn sure tell you that the delay in issuing the subpoena does not seem to serve in the best interests of We the People by advancing accountability as it concerns the attacks on our country. I want to be wrong on that. Then again, whether I am wrong may be a matter of whether those who want to protect our democracy get out and vote blue this November.


Get unbiased straight facts, context, and perspective!