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Is President Trump Defying The Rule Of Law In The United States?46:16
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President Donald Trump talks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Susan Walsh/AP)
President Donald Trump talks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Find our buildout from this hour, featuring a partial transcription, here.


With Meghna Chakrabarti

President Trump says he’ll "fight all subpoenas" from House Democrats and urges aides to stonewall, too. Is there an impending constitutional crisis?

Guests

Rep. Gerry Connolly, Democratic representative for Virginia’s 11th District. Senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations. (@GerryConnolly)

Claire Finkelstein, teaches law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. Director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. (@COFinkelstein)

Philip Klein, executive editor of the Washington Examiner. (@philipaklein)

From The Reading List

Washington Examiner: "How the Mueller report made it harder to impeach Trump" — "For years, the political world has been consumed by the question of whether special counsel Robert Mueller would provide Congress with enough ammunition to impeach President Trump. Now that the report is out, it appears that the answer is no.

"Though there are many aspects of the report that reveal improper behavior by Trump, the reality is that the report concluded that there was no coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and it was equivocal on the question of obstruction of justice.

"The report and its contents will be an ongoing source of partisan wrangling, but its release does not change the overriding political dynamic. That is, even if House Democrats have the sufficient votes to impeach Trump, there is no way that Senate Republicans will go along with them."

Washington Post: "Opinion: Elijah Cummings: The White House hasn’t turned over a single piece of paper to my committee" — "In November, the American people voted overwhelmingly to put Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives to start serving as a truly independent check and balance on the executive branch. Since then, President Trump and his allies have complained of “Presidential Harassment,” decrying Democrats for having the audacity to request documents and witnesses to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities.

"The problem is that the White House is engaged in an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction.

"I serve as chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, the primary investigative body in the House of Representatives. I have sent 12 letters to the White House on a half-dozen topics — some routine and some relating to our core national security interests. In response, the White House has refused to hand over any documents or produce any witnesses for interviews."

The Atlantic: "Opinion: The Mueller Report Was My Tipping Point" — "Let’s start at the end of this story. This weekend, I read Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report twice, and realized that enough was enough—I needed to do something. I’ve worked on every Republican presidential transition team for the past 10 years and recently served as counsel to the Republican-led House Financial Services Committee. My permanent job is as a law professor at the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, which is not political, but where my colleagues have held many prime spots in Republican administrations.

"If you think calling for the impeachment of a sitting Republican president would constitute career suicide for someone like me, you may end up being right. But I did exactly that this weekend, tweeting that it’s time to begin impeachment proceedings.

"Let’s go back to the beginning. In August 2016, I interviewed to join the pre-transition team of Donald Trump. Since 2012, every presidential election stands up a pre-transition team for both candidates, so that the real transition will have had a six-month head start when the election is decided. I participated in a similar effort for Mitt Romney, and despite our defeat, it was a thrilling and rewarding experience. I walked into a conference room at Jones Day that Don McGahn had graciously arranged to lend to the folks interviewing for the transition team."

Politico: "Trump showdown with House Democrats ignites into all-out war" — "The showdown between the Trump White House and House Democrats reached a new level of hostility this week, as several investigative disputes veered toward federal court amid scathing rhetoric on both sides.

"Three dramatic clashes between White House lawyers and congressional Democrats over the past 36 hours have created an atmosphere of total war between the president and Capitol Hill, suggesting that even modest compromise may be impossible and that protracted court fights likely are inevitable.

"House Democrats threatened Tuesday to hold in contempt a Trump official who oversaw security clearances after the White House instructed him not to cooperate with Congress. Later in the day, the Trump administration refused to turn over six years’ worth of President Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns by a 5 p.m. deadline, instead requesting more time to consult with the Justice Department. And later Tuesday, Trump said he was opposed to his current and former aides — most notably, former White House Counsel Don McGahn — testifying on Capitol Hill, escalating the showdown even further."

Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on April 29, 2019.

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