Country’s founders took oaths of office very seriously
I write about impeachment so people know the basics without all the bickering.
First: The President and Congress are all required to take an oath to uphold our laws and Constitution. Our framers took oaths very seriously!
An oath meant you were putting your soul, your reputation, and your place in history on the line. Gentlemen, with internal moral compasses, were expected to know the difference between what is meant to fully and faithfully carry out our laws and Constitution and anything that served other purposes.
Second: Our founders were extremely concerned to avoid the prospect of there ever being a king, a strongman, or dishonorable person who put themselves first. Therefore anyone who violated the oath could be removed for “bribery, extortion, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
They did not distinguish between an attempted bribe or if the bribe or extortion worked or not or anything else that violated the oath. If the President (with or without anyone helping him/her) took any actions that sounded like bribery they were betraying their oath. For criminal purposes, and not impeachment, there are certainly lots of ins and outs for each and every criminal act. (Clinton got impeached but did not get removed from office as his perjury did not affect putting the Country first.)
All sort of words are getting tossed about – due process, having the whistle blower testify, refusing to answer questions or respond to subpoena’s etc. A couple of comments about basics are important.
1) Law keeping the confidence of whistle blowers predates the Constitution!
2) The processes being used reflect Congresses past practices. Intelligence matters and grand jury are secret. The House is simply acting as a grand jury. The fact that the President can hear the witnesses and cross examine them in the House (and before trial in the Senate) is not in the Constitution but is what was done for Clinton.
It seems like either public relations or a ploy hoping the Supreme Court will interfere with long-standing Congressional processes.
3) Congress has the right to issue any subpoena it wants and has its own authority to jail anyone who does not comply. The exceptions are for presidential secrets or anyone else if they go to court to quash the subpoena as improper. In the past Congress and the President work out a compromise.
But a) generally once anyone talks about a Presidential secret or any issue in public any claim of privilege vanishes and b) Congress almost never uses its independent power to hold people in contempt for not going to court as it does not have jails and would have to rent them out or build them.
There is simply no existing right to just refuse a subpoena. I am thinking that the President hopes the Supreme Court will agree with a legal defense that he can do anything he wants anytime – in a Appeals Court last month one of his attorneys claimed the President could actually kill people and not be stopped.
Attorney General Barr who has also sworn allegiance to Opes Die seems to believe that. It’s a dangerous idea!