The predicted constitutional crisis created by the Trump administration is now upon us. After a multitude of impeachable offenses laid bare by the Mueller report, an angry, panicked Donald Trump has thrown down the gauntlet in defiance of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives investigating committees.
Trump declared he will oppose all further requests for documents, including his tax returns, and asserted that executive privilege should prevent witnesses from complying with congressional subpoenas.
The policy of the Justice Department since 1973 is that a sitting president cannot be charged with criminal conduct. This policy is not settled law and has never been adjudicated by the federal courts. There is nothing in the Constitution, however, which would prevent charges being brought against a sitting president.
The Justice Department policy seems to say a president is above the law. The rest of us can potentially go to the slammer for breaking a law while lawless presidents can continue to break the law until they are out of office. Surely there is something wrong with this.
The Constitution does provide another remedy: impeachment. And Trump's lawbreaking and defiance of Congress' authority gives the House of Representatives no choice but to impeach. The chairs of the respective investigating committees must use every means to investigate the offenses of the president and demonstrate to the American people the necessity to remove Trump from office.
If the House does not vigorously and whole-heartedly fulfill its duties of oversight of the executive branch, this will allow great danger to our democracy and to the rule of law to continue to exist. That would be intolerable.