House Passes Measure To Expedite Trump Oversight Legal Fights

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during her weekly press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 23, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
June 11, 2019 4:27 p.m.

The House, by a 229-191 vote, approved a resolution Tuesday that will make it easier for Democrats to bring their oversight fights with the Trump administration to court.

The resolution explicitly permits Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to seek a court’s intervention to force former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with a subpoena for testimony. (It includes similar language for Attorney General Bill Barr. However, Nadler is holding off of taking any legal action against Barr in light of new deal for the Justice Department to share certain evidence from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.)

The measure additionally gives other committee chairs the power to petition a court to enforce a subpoena. By doing so, House Democrats will no longer need to hold floor votes to move forward with each and every court action they seek to enforce compliance with their subpoenas.

The move could bring an onslaught of lawsuits as Democrats grapple with an administration that has been stonewalling on nearly every oversight front since Democrats took the gavel. It also reflects a moment of unity for the Democratic caucus, which is split on the question of whether to open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Some lawmakers have warned that, without an impeachment inquiry, they’ll be handicapped heading into certain courtrooms. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) remains reluctant to move forward with impeachment.

Latest Dc
Important Update On Comments

Beginning May 1, 2021, the option to comment on an article will be reserved only for TPM members. Non-members and those with free accounts will still be able to read comments both past and present, but will no longer be able to participate. We didn’t come to this decision lightly. Lively dicussion amongst our readers is a critical component of TPM. But in the interest of strengthening and sustaining these discussions, we determined this was the best way forward.

We hope that dedicated participants in the comments will join us as members, and want to make it as easy as possible for you to to so. So we are offering 40% OFF an annual Prime membership to TPM readers with commenting accounts.

We also offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: