House lawyers leave door open to new articles of impeachment against President Trump

Lawyers for the House of Representatives suggested the lower chamber could take up new articles of impeachment against President Trump if new evidence of the president’s conduct emerges.

The possibility of additional articles was raised by House general counsel Douglas Letter in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit as part of a legal dispute over whether former White House counsel Don McGahn should have to testify before Congress.

“If McGahn’s testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the articles approved by the House, the committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” Letter wrote.

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The House approved two articles of impeachment charging Mr. Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress last week. The Justice Department and the House were then asked by the court to address the impact of Mr. Trump’s impeachment on the legal fight over McGahn’s testimony, including whether the articles render the case moot. 

The Justice Department argued the articles did not render the case moot, but said the House’s impeachment vote means there is no longer an urgent need for the case to be resolved by the court. The Justice Department also urged the court to “decline the committee’s request that it enter the fray” and “dismiss this fraught suit between the political branches for lack of jurisdiction.”

The House, however, told the court McGahn’s testimony is “critical” to the Senate’s impeachment trial and the House Judiciary Committee’s “ongoing impeachment investigations to determine whether additional presidential misconduct warrants further action by the committee.”

McGahn, Letter wrote, witnessed much of the president’s behavior, namely in response to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and that conduct relates to the House’s article charging Mr. Trump with obstruction of Congress.

The former White House counsel was a key figure in Mueller’s probe, which concluded earlier this year and uncovered numerous instances of possible obstruction by the president.

“McGahn’s testimony would thus inform the House’s decision-making about impeachment and presentation of the articles in a Senate trial,” the House’s lawyer told the court. “McGahn’s testimony is also relevant to the committee’s ongoing investigations into presidential misconduct and consideration of whether to recommend additional articles of impeachment.”

Tweeting Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump quoted Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s take on the House’s filing: “‘…[N]ow all of a sudden they are saying maybe we’ll go back and visit the Mueller probe, which is absolutely unbelievable.'” Mr. Trump commented, “The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats have gone CRAZY. They want to make it as hard as possible for me to properly run our Country!”

While the House approved the two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump in a largely party-line vote, the articles have not yet been sent to the Senate.

The details of the Senate’s trial, meanwhile, have yet to be worked out, including how long proceedings will last and whether any witnesses will be called.

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