On MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews asked Democratic strategist Bob Shrum if he could "promise" that, if the Democrats regain control of the House after the midterm elections, "they will not use the subpoena power to go after the president."
On the April 4 edition of MSNBC's Hardball during a conversation about former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's (R-TX) April 3 resignation from Congress, host Chris Matthews asked Democratic strategist Bob Shrum if he could "promise" that, if the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives after the November 2006 midterm elections, "they will not use the subpoena power to go after the president." The subpoena is part of Congress' established powers to conduct governmental oversight. In response, Shrum said: "I think they will use the subpoena power and should use it to investigate a whole range of issues."
Additionally, during an interview with DeLay, Matthews asked DeLay "what would happen" if Democrats regained the House, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) "got the subpoena power." Matthews asked: "Would they go after the president?" He later added: "I know their records. I know their philosophies."
Earlier in the program, Hardball had featured a segment on DeLay's resignation and the recent ethics troubles within the Republican Party that concluded by hypothesizing about the effects of the Democrats' use of the subpoena power and exercise of congressional oversight if they gain control of the House this fall.
From the April 4 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: What would happen if Henry Waxman got the subpoena power in the Government Reform Committee? What would happen if John Conyers of Michigan got the subpoena power? Would they go after the president?
DeLAY: Sure, they would. They've -- they've tried the whole time we've been in the majority, just look at what they've been doing. Henry Waxman is constantly calling for investigations -- mostly frivolous investigations to make political points. John Conyers has even called for the impeachment of the president.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe that --
DeLAY: What do you -- What do you think he's [Conyers] going to do if he's chairman of the Judiciary Committee?
MATTHEWS: You have an inside view, Congressman, of what they will do. I know their records. I know their philosophies. But you tell me, the man in the news today, do you believe that the Republicans, if they lose the House, will turn over the subpoena power to people who will try to impeach the president?
MATTHEWS: Bob, can you promise that if the Democrats win the majority of House seats this fall, they get to the 218 magic number, that they will not use the subpoena power to go after the president?
SHRUM: I think they will use the subpoena power and should use it to investigate a whole range of issues. Why did we have energy lobbyists sitting in the White House with the vice president of the United States rewriting environmental regulations?