- Law Professor Says Trump Can Argue Attainder to Fight Off US House's Impeachment Inquiry
Law Professor Says Trump Can Argue Attainder To Fight Off US House's Impeachment Inquiry
The US House of Representatives is well aware it would fail in getting a judge to enforce the chamber's subpoenas related to the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump and will resort to folding the administration's refusal to cooperate into articles of impeachment, but the US president can use the attainder argument to litigate and counter the Democrats' accusations, Victor Williams, a law professor who founded and chairs the "America First Lawyers Association: Lawyers and Law Professors for Trump," told Sputnik
On Tuesday, the White House announced that the Trump administration would not cooperate with the Democrats' impeachment inquiry. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi then issued a statement warning that the administration's refusal to take part in the inquiry would be regarded as "further evidence of obstruction" and pledging that Trump would be "held accountable."
"Many commentators believe that the House will go to Federal court seeking to have a judge 'enforce' their subpoenas. I disagree. The House knows that the courts will ultimately not enforce such. The Administration's claim of executive and presidential immunity and lawyer-client privilege will win. While a rouge lower court judge (anti-Trump) might so rule, it will be appealed and SCOTUS [Supreme Court of the United States] will not," Williams said.
He also warned that such actions would take months or even years. "Rather, I predict the House will just claim 'obstruction' and quickly add that charge to the ultimate 'Article of Impeachment' they will not wait for court proceeding which they will ultimately lose," Williams said.
The professor went on to underline that the House of Representatives had "failed to constitutionally transform itself into the nation's 'Impeachment Grand Jury,'" therefore remaining a "mere legislature." He suggested that Trump should start litigation first arguing that actions of the Congress were an "attainder," a legal term which stands for a legislative punishment of an individual without a trial, by merely voting - something that, Williams stressed, the US Constitution "absolutely, textually" forbids.
"The Trump admin must 'argue attainder' in affirmative litigation President Trump should file lawsuits first against the House to make the attainder argument. He should argue attainder in federal court, in the House, and in the Senate," he said.
On September 24, congressional Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump's July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The inquiry was initiated after a whistleblower sent a complaint to Congress, saying Trump pressed Zelenskyy to investigate possible corruption by 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden as well as threatened withholding US military aid to Ukraine.
Trump denied the allegations calling them another attempt at a political witch hunt to reverse the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election, and published the transcript of the telephone call with Zelenskyy.