But an additional possible count — based on the White House campaign to undermine and obstruct the impeachment investigation itself — is just as important to the health of our democracy, if not more so. And the case for that count is clear.
The hearings did not plow through the extensive evidence of this obstructive conduct, nor was there any need to, since it has all been undertaken in plain view.
But we nevertheless should not lose sight of it. It represents an abuse of power that if allowed to stand would warp and damage the U.S. constitutional structure no less than the grave abuses involving Ukraine.
The offense here is rock-solid on the facts and the law.
The legal theory is straightforward and compelling. Impeachment is the mechanism that the Constitution provides for the most grave abuse of the president’s responsibilities. If the president himself can frustrate that singular remedy, it fundamentally alters the separation of powers and ultimately places the president above effective constitutional control.
It’s also historically well grounded. In 1974, the third count that the House Judiciary Committee returned against President Richard M. Nixon alleged that he had acted in contempt of Congress by willfully disobeying congressional subpoenas that the Judiciary Committee needed to conduct its investigation.
During the hearings last week, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, expressly invoked that precedent as he warned the administration, and the State Department in particular, about the unilateral withholding of testimony and documents that could shed light on the case. “I remind the president that Article III of the impeachment articles drafted against President Nixon was his refusal to obey the subpoenas of Congress,” he said.
Trump’s conduct in support of an obstruction count has been flagrant. In blocking a series of subpoenas in the spring, the president announced: “We’re fighting all the subpoenas.” He justified his stonewalling based on an assertion that Congress’s demands were political and “ridiculous.” And true to his word, the president has issued a series of countermands to congressional subpoenas and requests, arbitrarily demanding noncompliance from a series of witnesses, often on the basis of preposterous legal arguments.
It’s worth noting that Nixon’s impeachable conduct was far more tempered than Trump’s has been. Scrambling for his survival, Nixon played a finesse, trying to force a compromise with Congress. The eight subpoenas from Congress called for tapes of 147 conversations and a series of documents. Nixon responded by producing edited transcripts of some of the conversations and a summary of other notes, then went on television to justify his approach to the American people.
By including this conduct in its Watergate impeachment counts, Congress asserted its authority to determine what it needed to pursue its lawful responsibility.
much more - and video at the link to the original article LINK
If the Congress is to retain the power to investigate, impeach and remove the president, the attempted scuttling of the investigation must be taken as an assault on the Constitution — and an impeachable offense in its own right.