Of this we are sure. The current President of the United States has truthfully honed to his promised threat to deny one and all documents, as well as any testimony, to Congressional oversight function that he (for whatever the reason) frowns upon. It would be no exaggeration to claim nor feat to prove that President Trump has been openly engaged in both the defiance and hindering of Congressional committees and their constitutionally derived legislative authority. And occurring on a regular basis at that. Looking back to the beginnings January of 2018, the Trump administration has been nearly relentless in their refusal to comply with duly issued and legally valid Congressional subpoenas emanating from the House of Representatives. From all appearances, this state of intransience has in both deed and action become a continuing policy of the Executive branch. In fact, so common place has it become that a casual observer might even conclude that one’s compliance with a Congressional subpoena is really nothing more than a completely optional event. Or an Executive branch prerogative—so to speak? Maybe even, the “thinking” is now that it’s simply just another new legal norm for the Executive branch.
Regardless, such contemptuous conduct towards a duly issued and valid Congressional subpoena, no longer receives the just condemnation from all corners it so richly deserves. And those days, it certainly seems to be, have long since passed. Today, the subpoena contempt hardly prompts even a seriously raised eyebrow. Instead, it more often elicits just a passing mention of concern. One cannot help but wonder what Madison would think.
Even the indignation seen expressed by certain leaders of the House of Representatives, if one could properly call it so, rings somewhat hollow in its righteousness. Additionally, the various Committee and wider House body responses to the Executive branch’s willful denial of its subpoenas has been disjointed while also lacking a unity in purpose. This, not to mention the absence of a requisite steely determination that’s needed to persevere and overcome this obstruction to its Constitutionally enabled information gathering duties. Not knowing better, it seems almost as if the “people’s representatives” are resigned to acquiescence. With Congressional House oversight stymied it does appear as if a general sense of legislative oversight malaise has set in. This is not to say that there is no earnest exacerbation or wailing and gnashing of teeth over subpoena noncompliance. But rather that the response of the wronged party has noticeably become rather muted and disjointed. The current state of affairs is perilous and most decidedly does not bode well for the future of the Republic. For if Executive defiance of the Congressional subpoena continue without meaningful check, then this writer sees but short time remaining before the vision of the Founders becomes irreparably distorted and then ultimately collapses. Though the Congress is a coequal branch of government, one would certainly not think so. And as every day passes so is its strength further weakening.