More than a battle of the wills between the executive and legislative branches of our government, an impeachment inquiry is a process backed by the Constitution to hold the president accountable to the American people. Open the Government has long challenged Congress to fully exert its constitutional authority to address blatant misconduct by the president and his cabinet.
Lisa Rosenberg, executive director of the Open the Government, issued this statement:
The impeachment inquiry stemming from a whistleblower complaint about a controversial exchange between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has triggered a chorus of demands from lawmakers including the head of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md) for the release of related documents to Congress. These documents are necessary for congressional investigation into Trump’s apparent efforts to extract favors from foreign leaders for personal gain.
To defend our system of checks and balances that protect against potential abuse of power by a sitting president, Congress must remain steadfast in demanding these documents. The Trump administration’s attempts to stonewall the investigation, including preventing State Department officials from giving depositions to the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform committees, top a long list of objectionable actions the executive branch has taken so far to undermine the authority of a co-equal branch of government and the public’s right to know since the administration begun.
Trump’s sustained attempt to discredit the disclosure of the whistleblower deemed credible by the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community is a chilling threat to whistleblowers that cannot be tolerated. Whistleblowers expose wrongdoing in all levels of government at tremendous professional and personal risks. So, as Congress navigates the impeachment inquiry process, its oversight must adhere to the U.S.’s whistleblower protection laws that are instrumental to curtailing serious wrongdoing in government.