But legal experts and lawmakers across the ideological spectrum acknowledge that formally unleashing impeachment would bolster Democrats’ arguments that they deserve to see the president’s tax returns, interview senior officials, peruse special counsel Robert Mueller’s trove of evidence and see the details of Trump’s personal dealings with foreign leaders. So far, the Trump administration has vociferously argued it doesn’t need to acquiesce to such demands, which it says are merely part of a political hit job. The president’s personal attorneys have even punched back with lawsuits in some cases.
“One could imagine that if this stonewalling of the American people continues, that that may be something the committee would have to consider,” said Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which would lead impeachment proceedings.
“The Democrats’ hand would be strengthened if they were conducting a formal impeachment inquiry,” added Philip Lacovara, who served as counsel to the Watergate-era investigation of President Richard Nixon.