The Constitution of the United States is chock full of guarantees to the right to counsel. The Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments address right to legal representation at the local, state and federal levels.
One certainly doesn’t have to be a Constitutional lawyer to understand that Congressional hearings certainly have all the trappings of a trial. From the words hearings to subpoenas to contempt of Congress, it’s a good bet that you’d better have a lawyer present if you’re ever called upon to testify (another nifty judicial term).
From the raising of your right hand, to the final pounding of the gavel, the witness best not tell fibs… lying to Congress is a federal offense.
With all this useful information now at your fingertips, any person with a lick of common sense would deduct that not only the need, but the absolute right to legal representation.
Just don’t tell that to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chairman of the very powerful House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
You see, Cummings has ordered John Gore to appear before his committee.
Gore, one of the top officials in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is in Cummings’ figurative crosshairs.
As faithfully covered by Betsy Woodruff of the reliably liberal The Daily Beast, Woodruff’s provocative headline:
What reporter Woodruff’s breathless headline fails to mention; Cummings ordered Gore that he couldn’t bring a lawyer with him.
As patently un-American was Cummings’ order, the Old Line State representative somehow managed to blame President Trump.
As Woodruff penned (emphasis mine);
John Gore, a top official in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, will not appear for a deposition scheduled for tomorrow with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, according to a letter the Justice Department sent the committee chairman on April 24.
Stephen Boyd, the department’s top Hill liaison, wrote in the letter, which The Daily Beast obtained, that Gore will not appear as long as Chairman Elijah Cummings blocks him from bringing along lawyers from the Justice Department.
“We are disappointed that the Committee remains unwilling to permit Department counsel to represent the interests of the Executive Branch in the deposition of a senior Department official,” Boyd wrote. “Accordingly, Attorney General Barr’s determination that Mr. Gore will not appear at the Committee’s deposition unless a Department attorney may accompany him remains in effect.”
The committee wants to question Gore about his role in the Trump administration’s effort to add a question to the 2020 Census about citizenship. The committee authorized a subpoena of Gore earlier this month. His refusal to participate in a deposition may result in an effort by the committee to hold him in contempt.
“In keeping with longstanding Department of Justice policy, neither Mr. Gore nor anyone else in the Department will be forced to testify in their capacity as a DOJ official on DOJ matters without DOJ counsel,” said Kerri Kupec, a department spokesperson.
For his part, Cummings’ equally predictable and absurd response;
“This is a massive, unprecedented, and growing pattern of obstruction,” he said. “Yesterday, President Trump declared to the entire country that he would obstruct Congress and order all White House officials to defy lawful subpoenas from Congress. Today, the Trump Administration went even further by expanding this policy to employees at federal agencies—even when the subpoenas are bipartisan and supported by Republican Members of Congress.”
To say that the Democrat Party has taken a hard turn leftwards would be an understatement of Biblical proportions.