House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) wrote to the White House last month demanding information about Trump’s national emergency declaration. Nadler’s February 22 deadline came and went without a response — or even an acknowledgement of the request from anyone in the Trump administration.
Washington veterans who have worked in previous administrations and in Congress said Trump and his administration employees are violating “established norms.” They are disregarding congressional requests for documents and other information. In some cases they have responded — with aggressively hostile letters.
“The White House is taking the exact right tactic to ignore the requests and see what comes of it,” said David Bossie, a Trump confidante who led the investigation into Bill Clinton in the 1990s. “I wouldn’t respect [the Democrats’] process.”
Bossie said the White House was justified in ignoring the demands, which he dismissed as partisan, and predicted they would face no serious legal consequences for stonewalling Democratic oversight.
Administration officials met with congressional staffers last week to discuss requests for documents related to security clearances for the president’s family members. But Trump’s intent is clear: He doesn’t plan to negotiate with Congress over their demands for information and witnesses the way his predecessors did.
Instead, House Democrats are going to have to fight him for everything.
“I think they have an arrogant attitude toward Congress,” said Charles Tiefer, former solicitor and deputy general counsel of the House. “You have to go back to the Nixon administration to find this.”
POLITICO contacted the 17 House committees that unsuccessfully requested records or witnesses from the Trump administration over the last two months in writing their report.
Despite hopes among Democrats that they would quickly receive many internal Trump administration documents, and be able to interview administration witnesses, it appears instead they are facing a long and frustrating fight with Trump lawyers. It is likely that their fight will end up in court.
And Democrats are furious over what they call the brazen stonewalling by Trump.
Still, House Democrats will probably be able to get documents from agencies and departments that don’t have as many protections as the White House. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can use House “parliamentary tactics” to hold up appropriations and authority for government programs.
In addition, aggressive Trump lawyers can’t prevent Democrats from obtaining records from people and entities who are not associated with the federal government, such as Trump’s children and business associates.