Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff seized on comments made today in court by the Justice Department, which suggested the DOJ endorsed impeachment when the administration refused to cooperate.
What's this about: The court hearing in Washington was about the House’s lawsuit to enforce subpoenas for documents from the Justice and Commerce departments related to the 2020 Census. When asked by the judge what the House could do when the executive branch stonewalls, the DOJ lawyer James Burnham jumped right to “impeachment” as a powerful punitive example.
Schiff recounted the court-hearing action to the Senate this afternoon, less than four hours after Burnham gave the response to the judge.
“The judge says if the Congress can't enforce its subpoenas in court, then what remedy is there? And the Justice Department lawyer's response is impeachment. Impeachment,” Schiff said on Capitol Hill.
Members of the Senate laughed.
“You can't make this up. I mean, what more evidence do we need of the bad faith of this effort to cover up? “
More context: The House and Justice Department have been clashing over this question of what Congress can do if the executive branch ignores its subpoenas for months now.
When asked point blank by judges at previous court hearings what the House can do, DOJ attorneys previously emphasized appropriations powers and the House’s sergeant-at-arms’ now-defunct ability to arrest someone and hold them in the Capitol’s basement jail.
Watch the moment: