Congressional subpoenas are powerful, but people can still choose to fight them. House Democrats can issue them to whomever they wish, but that doesn’t mean they will get immediate cooperation. Dems have to approach the issue with care and strategy because if they are challenged on the legality of a subpoena, they must be ready to fight it. Given all of this, it’s no surprise they have been slow to drop their first subpoena, but it just hit and it was no disappointment.
One key to winning a court battle over a subpoena is to convince a judge you tried to explore the testimony or evidence via a less intense route first. House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings has already asked nicely for the evidence regarding the Trump White House and its security clearance scandal. Of course, when they didn’t comply he could take the next steps and he is taking a big one.
The committee voted to subpoena Carl Kline. He was in charge of the security clearance process and allegedly approved several high profile clearances for Trump. This happened even after White House security experts and U.S. intel community members had flagged certain people as risks against the United States.
In an investigation like this you can guarantee it won’t stop at just one person. Kline’s testimony could lead to a path of other subpoenas regarding other security clearances. Let’s not forget that some of Trump’s family members have questionable clearance levels as well.
At the same time, the House Judiciary Committee is voting later this week to give Chairman Jerry Nadler unilateral power to subpoena anyone he wants to try to make the Mueller report public. With Cummings and Nadler both on the job we can expect many more subpoenas to follow and we wouldn’t be surprised if Barr or Mueller make the cut.