Trump and Nunes Are Unwittingly Undermining Their Con Law Argument Against the Mueller Investigation

And bonus: They are disproving Scalia’s dissent in Morrison v. Olson and its ahistorical assertion of extreme executive power.

Asha Rangappa (friend from Yale Law) and I write in Just Security and Slate:

“The latest sideshow stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion is Congressmen Devin Nunes’s (R-Calif.) and Mark Meadows’s (R-N.C.) demand for classified documents from the Department of Justice. Nunes has requested that the DOJ reveal the identity of a key source in the Russia probe, despite the DOJ’s objection that providing this information would place the source in danger. Nunes nevertheless has issued subpoenas to the DOJ and is threatening Attorney General Jeff Sessions with contempt charges and impeachment if he doesn’t comply. Meanwhile, The Washington Post has reported that Meadows plans to use a federal audit to access the DOJ memo expanding Mueller’s jurisdiction beyond his original appointment. Meadows and Nunes have grounded their aggressive requests in Congress’ constitutional oversight authority over the Executive Branch, and the Trump administration has endorsed their efforts. Though they may not realize it, in doing so they are undermining the core constitutional argument asserted by President Trump and his allies against the Russia investigation.

Author: Jed Shugerman

Legal historian at Fordham Law School, teaching Torts, Administrative Law, and Constitutional History. JD/PhD in History, Yale. Red Sox and Celtics fan, youth soccer coach. Author of "The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America" (2012) on the rise of judicial elections in America. I filed an amicus brief in the Emoluments litigation against Trump along with a great team of historians. I'm working on "The Rise of the Prosecutor Politicians," a history of prosecutors and American politics, and another project on the origins of independent agencies in America.

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