Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says that the United States is in a “crisis” because the administration is violating the Constitution in its standoff with House Democrats over the Mueller report.
The facts, however, tell a different story.
“If your question is will the administration violate the Constitution of the United States and not abide by the request of Congress in its legitimate oversight responsibilities, that remains to be seen,” the speaker told reporters at her weekly press conference on Thursday. “Every day they are advertising their obstruction of justice by ignoring subpoenas” and other objections to House Democrats’ demands.
Pelosi went on to say that she agrees with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., in his assertion that the United States is supposedly now in the middle of a “constitutional crisis” because “the administration has decided that they are not going to honor their oath of office.”
So, are the Trump administration’s actions really a violation of the Constitution? Let’s do a quick fact-check here. What does the Constitution say about this particular situation? Not that much.
Here are the facts:
The House of Representatives’ own website acknowledges that the “Constitution says nothing about congressional investigations and oversight,” but says that Congress’ oversight powers were rather implied by historical understanding of the Founders, who got their understanding of it from Congress’ forerunners in the British parliament.
There’s no specific language in the document that gives Congress the ability to issue subpoenas, nor is there anything that outlines how the executive branch is supposed to respond to congressional subpoenas that demand information that can’t be released without a court order.
And given the nature of the situation, the argument could very easily be made that the executive branch has already more than upheld its constitutional obligations to Congress’ implied oversight powers by its repeated offers to allow leaders from both parties from both chambers to come and view the document, minus the secret grand jury information.
At most, we appear to be looking at a constitutional question — not a crisis.
Full video of Pelosi’s press conference can be found here: