What would stop Don McGahn or Robert Mueller from just walking into the House of Representatives and testifying about obstruction of justice? Nothing short of the Donald Trump administration physically preventing them from doing so. They may assert some sort of legal or employer authority, but they cannot stop testimony without physical force. That would make things very interesting.
As things stand now, Attorney General William “Bill” Barr is mocking the powers of the House of Representatives to issue subpoenas for documents or testimony. Bill is daring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have him arrested — in other words, he wants the House to use force against him.
Why would Bill Barr want this? First, because an initial use of force by one side of the dispute may create outrage against the side taking action, even where such action is appropriate under the law. Second, because a literal fight between branches of government should it come down to it would make government in general look bad, a long-time Republican tactic to use for government deconstruction. Also, forces controlled by the executive are far more powerful than those held by the House. Democrats could both look bad and lose.
So, let’s turn this around. They want to risk such a crisis? Let’s dare Republicans to take the role of aggressors. Let’s see them try to stop Don McGahn from freely walking in and speaking to the House. Let’s see if they are willing to use force against an American for exercising his right to speak and to provide information to the public.
Republicans are the ones breaking the law by refusing to provide information to the public despite numerous legal subpoenas. They are doing it not under any justification (although there are plenty of excuses), but rather because they have raw power.
We could wait months or years for all of these situations to wind their way through to the Supreme Court, and hope the Republican five, Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, move quickly and decide for the Democrats, or we could do what needs to be done to provide the people with critical information and worry about the legalities of it afterward.
Don McGahn should just walk in and testify and worry about the consequences later unless Republicans physically stop him. Then, we will see who is willing to use force to break the law and to hide information — a much smarter way to handle the situation than walking into the propaganda trap of locking up Bill in the House jail cell.
The only question now is: will Don McGahn put himself in the firing line for the sake of American justice?