Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Issa: White House Declaring Simas Immune From Subpoena ‘Deeply Disturbing’

Updated 4:44 p.m. | House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa gaveled open Wednesday morning’s hearing on the White House’s new political office without what would have been his star witness — top Obama political adviser David Simas.

The California Republican called a letter from White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston asserting Simas is immune to subpoenas as a top White House aide “deeply disturbing.”

Issa argued the White House’s position violated checks and balances.

“In the Miers-Bolton lawsuit brought by Democrats when they were in the majority, a federal judge wrote that senior advisers to the president of the United States are – and I quote – ‘not absolutely immune from congressional process,'” he said.

He also cited the investigations by Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., into the Bush administration’s political activities.

Issa said he has exercised patience for months.

“It’s deeply ironic that an administration claiming to be the most transparent ever has resisted oversight of its political office and offered less cooperation than any of its predecessors,” Issa charged.

And countering the White House argument that he hadn’t shown any evidence of wrongdoing, Issa said “we should not need a smoking gun” to look into whether taxpayer dollars are being spent properly.

Issa didn’t announce what he will do next. But the subpoena fight could end up in court, alongside another House lawsuit asserting Obama violated his duty by failing to enforce the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., blasted Issa’s subpoena.

“We do not simply haul in one of the president’s top advisers at will,” Cummings said.

He said Issa had failed to show any evidence that would be a foundation for such a subpoena. He said he supports the power to subpoena administration officials, but he would not support the abuse of that power.

Cummings on Wednesday showed a video of Issa promising to take his concerns and the concerns of other members of the committee about issuing subpoenas into account, which Cummings said was not done in the Simas case or in many other cases where Issa has issued subpoenas on his own without a vote of the committee.

“You did not ask other members if you were nuts,” Cummings said.

And Cummings said the investigation into the Bush administration was different because it centered on political interference into the firing of U.S. attorneys, and there was an impasse over getting information.

Later Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest ripped Issa for “throwing out subpoenas like candy on Halloween.”


  • Prospector

    You’d better damned well believe that congress can haul in one the executive’s advisors at will.

  • Its_All_Baloney

    Why would they not be able to? If you can’t subpoena a witness without a smoking gun, there’s no need ever for a subpoena. Or a witness. Why would you care what the witness says if you already have a smoking gun?

    Elijah Cummings Is a mindless, self-serving political hack. Think “Harry Reid”, but not that bright and well-balanced.

  • Likely_Suspect

    The entire plan is to run out the clock until 2016, not have an October surprise before the midterms & play hide the ball until it doesn’t matter any more. Complicit in this is the media, who have absolutely no interest in what the truth may be, but rather only what the WH says to cover their tracks.

    Walter Cronkrite was a capital “L” liberal, but knew that the public’s trust was enshrined in the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of the Fourth Estate’s duty to speak truth to power. Can anybody name a current media figure that could carry the mantle of “The Most Trusted Man in America?”

  • Layla

    The whole damned administration is deeply disturbing, as is a Congress who sits back while we are being invaded by God knows what coming across our borders.

    You are witnessing the end of this country and quite possible our free elections. What are the cowards in Congress going to do if he cancels elections?

    Our country is totally lawless now, from the top on down.

  • Dan Wafford

    This is equivalent to Lerner’s, “I’m innocent,” followed immediately by, “I plead the 5th.” You don’t refuse to appear or to testify if you have nothing to hide. We tend to forget that “pleading the 5th” means, “I refuse to say anything to incriminate myself,” – which can only be the case when you KNOW that you have committed crimes. The president could have no objection to having his aides questioned unless he feared the revelation of incriminating evidence. He should at least man up and say it openly: “Yeah, I’m guilty, but you can’t prove it!”

  • endpork

    And from ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC…
    Nothing to see here… move along.
    Oh… and how will they pay for the ability to cover for Obama…. JUST LIKE THEY HAVE SINCE 2008…………
    …………….. Money from stupid Americans who complain about them yet… give the media billions of dollars from cable bill contract portions and advertisement money.
    When will people get it into their heads that the media would go completely nuts if this were a Republican Administration … BUT… since this is a liberal administration THEY WILL NOT TALK ABOUT IT…. USING AMERICANS MONEY TO PAY FOR THAT AGENDA.
    Kind of gives the term “low information voter” a whole new definition.

  • tess


  • tpaine1

    Got to love Cummings. The VERY guy that sicced the IRS on “TrueTheVote” is offended!! REALLY??

  • ohioan123

    Why not, Cummings? Why are you protecting the assistant? What are you hiding?

  • Black_Saint

    Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like good President…Makes Richard Nixon look honest…Makes Slick Willy look truthful, makes Bush Jr. look smart and competent, makes Benedict Arnold look like a patriot, and makes all previous Presidents look like workaholics.

  • smartaleck

    “There isn’t any evidence of…” is a favorite defensive, first move of the left.

    Then when that evidence begins to show up, it’s racism. There is plenty evidence to have a serious and honest accounting of the peoples work. From the blatant disregard of the Hatch Act by multiple cabinet members, to the weaponization of our tax collecting agency, this government, whoever’s da*n fault it is, is systematically dismantling the private rights and freedoms of Americans.

    They have us arguing (at each other’s throats) about skin color and religion and science and who can marry who. Meanwhile, try to start a business, try to get a job, an education…try to understand your tax forms, try to build a shed in your yard.

    Now, on the crest of having that same crushing IRS run our health care and make decisions about who will live and who will die (based on their google searches), the full force of that weaponized government will crash on us.

    What will you do then, Obama voters?

  • Bob231

    Hey WH. You wanna make Issa look stupid?

    Show up for his subpoenas and tell the truth. If you can show Issa has nothing and you don’t have anything to hide, you win and he looks like a fool.

    The problem is if they tell the truth, someone’s going to jail or get fired. That’s kind of a tough problem, isn’t it?

  • Jro

    The white ho use is filled with emotionally immature h0m0sexuals

  • Robert177

    Egad, Elijah E. Cummings again. How predictable. Every time Obama gets confronted for a potential crime, good old Cummings comes to the rescue..

  • Robert177

    You ask “What are the cowards in Congress going to do if Obama cancels the 2016 elections?”
    It’s a very fair question, and one many have been asking for awhile now. What indeed would ANYONE or ANY entity do? After all, who would dare to say “NO” to a sitting President? Who in the military wouldn’t follow the order?
    And, do not think for a minute that Mr. Obama has not already considered this.
    It comes down to this: if he senses weakness, and thinks he can get away with it, and that in doing so he can serve a few more years, then he will try. Because, he’s figuring ….”What do I have to lose?”

  • Robert177

    Not really. I could attest that the most clearly honest media person in America is Glenn Beck. But, I doubt he is the most trusted.

  • Robert177

    You want weird? Before Obama was elected, I hated Jimmy Carter.
    Now that Obama has been in office 5 years, I both hate Carter and MISS him at the same time. Now, THAT’S a weird feeling to have.

  • jamann1

    It really depends on that order, Robert. I was in the Marine Corps, and those in the military are not robots. For an order to be valid, it has to be lawful. If the order given breaks the law, it does not have to be followed.

  • Samuel Sung

    Since we learn from the efforts and experience of others, we should ensure that everyone has the liberty to learn as much as they can and apply their knowledge as best they can.

  • victorvictor

    Rachel Maddow

  • Bob Stauskas

    Since our minds develop along with the culture in which we grow up, we tend to be ignorant of the unseen history of the customs we practice.

  • Cruella DeVille

    You forgot the “/sarc/” string

  • Cruella DeVille

    “What do I have to lose?”
    In the event: very possibly his life, and the lives of those around as well as those of his sycophants.
    The flyover country citizens will, eventually, reach a breaking point. And it is getting closer.
    His entire administration is a vast and nasty game of “Dare”. Which he will lose eventually.

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