New Congressional probes are Trump’s worst nightmare realized
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam B. Schiff of California on Wednesday announced a broad inquiry into President Trump’s financial dealings. J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press

Just a day after President Donald Trump, speaking to a world audience, declared that there would be no legislation signed by him if Congress didn’t stop investigating him, the Congress of the United States opened broad new investigations into his affairs.

The investigations, which go beyond just “Russiagate” to include financial law-breaking, money laundering, and influence peddling and buying, began almost immediately after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi castigated the president for threatening Congress on the floor of the House during his Tuesday night State of the Union speech.

Specifically, the House Intelligence Committee began yesterday an investigation into the extent to which Russia and other countries influenced or are influencing the actions of President Trump.

Congressional committees are also looking at other areas the president has declared as unacceptable fields of inquiry, including his tax returns.

Late yesterday, Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York sought a preliminary and preemptive court order to guarantee that the acting attorney general, Matthew Whittaker, would not try to wiggle out of his scheduled testimony before Congress.

Also demonstrating how dead serious the new Congress is was the kick-off yesterday by the House Appropriations Committee of an investigation into the extent to which the Trump administration may have violated the law during the recent government shutdown.

When asked what he thought about Trump’s claim during his State of the Union speech that the probes endanger the economy and the chance of getting legislation passed, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings declared, “We are doing what the constitution demands of us,” which is oversight of the executive branch of government. Pelosi described Trump’s remarks as an “all-out threat” made on the floor of the House.

The Intelligence Committee outlined an investigation plan that possibly goes much further than even Trump’s worst nightmare.

The committee is adding additional connected areas of inquiry to the Russia probe, including whether anyone was holding or is holding leverage over Trump that could have or could be influencing U.S. policy.

Trump called Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman, a “political hack” who was promoting his own career by conducting “presidential harassment.”

“I can understand why the idea of meaningful oversight terrifies the president. Look, several associates of his have gone to jail. Others are awaiting trial,” Schiff reminded attendees at a press conference yesterday.

On top of the investigations mentioned so far, the Financial Services Committee has begun looking at money laundering at Trump Tower and throughout the Trump Organization.

That investigation is significant because it could well uncover proof that U.S. policy is being formed by the administration as a result of Trump’s financial wheeling-and-dealing or to meet his financial needs.

Another development at the meeting of Schiff’s committee yesterday that has the administration in a panic is the decision to turn over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller the interviews it conducted last year. The Republican leadership of the committee sat on top of hundreds of those 2018 interview transcripts. The decision yesterday to turn them over to Mueller is significant because so far his probe had only two such transcripts and in each of those cases he was able to charge Trump associates with lying to Congress. The speculation now is that the release of the additional transcripts to Mueller could implicate other Trump associates, including the president’s son and son-in-law, in making false statements to Congress.

“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it is foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations,” Trump said in his State of the Union speech. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!” he claimed, sounding more like the CEO of a corporation than the leader of a country.

After two years in office, it is clear Trump is not comfortable with the degree of control the president has over the country. It is far too little, as far as he is concerned, having been used to the absolute power he wielded for so many years in Trump Tower.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is editor in chief at Peoplesworld.org. He started as labor editor of the People's World in May, 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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