Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, delivered the following remarks on the House floor in opposition to H. Res. 970, a resolution offered by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC):
“This so-called “resolution of insistence” is being rushed to the floor as an emergency measure. There are many emergencies facing the United States at this hour. The subject matter of this resolution is not among them.
“H. Res. 970 is wrong on the facts, wrong on the law, wrong on the rules, and a dangerous precedent to set for the House of Representatives.
“First, the resolution is riddled with inaccuracies.
“Taking this document at face value, you might think that the Department of Justice had not already sent us hundreds of thousands of documents—many of which, the sponsors of this resolution delight in leaking to the public.
“It also relies heavily on the March 22 subpoena issued by Chairman Goodlatte—a subpoena that was not issued in compliance with House Rules and, according to past House Counsels with whom we have consulted, likely cannot be enforced.
“Second, this resolution is premised on a demand for documents to which Congress is not entitled.
“To be clear, I firmly believe that when the House Judiciary Committee asks the executive branch for information, our Committee is entitled to that information in almost every case.
“But we are not entitled to information that goes to the core of an ongoing criminal investigation. This prohibition is both a matter of constitutional law—it falls to the executive branch to enforce the law—and a matter of basic fairness—it is wrong to inject politics into criminal proceedings.
“I suspect that the sponsors of this resolution already know this. They are asking for documents they know they will probably never receive.
“And they likely view this impossible request as a win-win proposition: if they somehow bully the Department of Justice into turning over materials that go to the core of the Mueller investigation, that information could be shared with the subject of the investigation—namely, President Trump. Based on past precedent, it would next be shared with anybody watching Fox News.
“And if they do not pry these documents from the Department, they will use that fact to further smear the Special Counsel, the Deputy Attorney General, and anyone else investigating the President. They have even suggested impeaching the Deputy Attorney General, a proposal that is both without historical precedent and patently ridiculous.
“Finally, voting on this resolution today sets a dangerous precedent.
“The Majority will, in effect, have shown the American people that pure politics is more important than the facts, more important than the law, and more important than the rules that govern fairness and civility in the House of Representatives.
“And for what?
“You can force this fight with the leadership of the Department of Justice. You can demand documents that the Department cannot give us, and to which we are not entitled. You can attack the character of lifelong public servants like Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller. You can burn bridges with your colleagues to speed this resolution to the floor.
“But you cannot stop the Special Counsel’s investigation.
“Before members vote today, we must ask: when the Special Counsel’s work is complete, when the enormity of what he has found has been laid bare, how will the American people judge Congress’ actions here today?
“I urge my colleagues to oppose this reckless, dangerous measure, and I reserve the balance of my time.”