GOP Rep. Devin Nunes' attempt to cover for the Trump administration has been thwarted by House Democrats.
Elections have consequences.
After winning back control of the House in a 2018 blue wave, Democrats announced on Wednesday that they are re-opening the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation — because former Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Republicans botched it so badly when they were in charge.
“During the prior Congress, the Committee began to pursue credible reports of money laundering and financial compromise related to the business interests of President Trump, his family, and his associates," current House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, these and numerous other avenues of inquiry were not completed during the last Congress," Schiff said.
Democrats on the committee plan to do a thorough probe of Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 election, whether the Russian government coordinated its attacks with anyone in the Trump campaign, and whether Trump himself may have been compromised by a foreign power.
When Nunes and Republicans were in charge, Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said, they repeatedly undermined the investigation — and even hid evidence by blocking Democrats on the committee from pursuing leads on "worrisome contacts between the Russians and candidate Trump, his family, his businesses, and his campaign."
Ultimately, Nunes and the GOP-led committee ended the investigation in early 2018. Democrats said the investigation was a sham from the very start because Republicans were trying to cover for Trump, as well as his family members and campaign staff.
Schiff said the re-opened House probe will focus on five areas:
- The "scope and scale" of Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
- Whether there was any "coordination between the Russian government, or related foreign actors, and individuals associated with Donald Trump’s campaign, transition, administration, or business interests."
- Whether foreign actors have tried to use any kind of blackmail — financial or not — as leverage over Trump.
- Whether Trump or anyone in his orbit — both familial and campaign — "have sought to influence U.S. government policy in service of foreign interests."
- Whether anyone has tried to "impede, obstruct, and/or mislead authorized investigations into these matters, including those in the Congress."
Already, the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday voted to send transcripts of witness interviews the committee conducted over the past two years to special counsel Robert Mueller.
When reporters on Capitol Hill asked Nunes whether he voted to tun over the transcripts, Nunes declined to comment and instead gave a petty retort.
“You guys are an embarrassment to yourselves,” Nunes said, according to CNN's Manu Raju.
The news that the committee is re-opening the investigation comes a day after Trump called for an end to all investigations of his administration during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
When Trump's plea fell on deaf ears, he lashed out again on Wednesday.
"He’s just a political hack who is trying to build a name for himself," Trump said of Schiff and the re-opened investigation.
Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump's startling remarks in a Wednesday interview on "CBS This Morning" by trying to dismiss investigations into Trump's potential crimes as "partisan."
“Congressional oversight is a part of the checks and balances of our system, but what the president referred to last night was partisan investigations,” Pence said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also called on Democrats to end their investigations into Trump and his administration.
“Look, we will never give up our oversight role, but this country is too great for a small vision of just investigations," McCarthy said at a press conference Wednesday morning.
This is the same McCarthy who admitted in 2015 that the GOP's years-long investigation into the 2012 embassy attack in Benghazi was a political attempt to discredit Hillary Clinton.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee,” McCarthy said on Fox News in 2015. “What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s un-trustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who just won a major victory by forcing Trump to end his senseless government shutdown, does not appear moved by the GOP's pleas for investigative mercy.
“It’s our congressional responsibility, and if we didn’t do it, we would be delinquent in that,” Pelosi said Wednesday, adding that Trump's call for the investigations to end was an "all-out threat."
Unfortunately for Trump, it looks like House Democrats are just getting started with their investigative oversight.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.