Just when you thought the cascade of scandal involving the Trump administration couldn’t get any worse, something else pops up. In this era, issues that would have consumed the news cycle for weeks to months garner little more than passing mentions.
Democrats have found out that President Donald Trump was involved in a decision to not sell the old FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., after all. The General Services Administration inside the government had previously skirted around the fact, they’ve discovered, that the decision to keep the building and launch a rebuilding project was approved in an Oval Office meeting with the president himself.
That’s significant not just because here we have yet another example of a Trump administration official lying, but also because Trump has business interests in the situation. His already controversial D.C. hotel sits across the street from the FBI building, occupying an old D.C. Post Office. Should the FBI building have been sold, a competitor could have, in theory, scooped up the property and placed something there to compete with the president’s establishment.
In other words, as president, Donald Trump has been placed in a position where he can use the power of the U.S. federal government to bend the business environment he operates in more to his liking.
As mentioned, officials have sought to conceal this. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy testified before Congress about the decision-making process regarding the J. Edgar Hoover building, but she didn’t mention having met with the president.
Democrats have a photo of the January 24 meeting including her, the president, and others, and they’ve got emails using various turns of phrase to indicate that the rebuilding project replacing plans to sell the building in question was what the president himself wanted.
Democrats have demanded more documents, including an outline of all communications between relevant agencies and the White House over plans for the FBI building in general and Murphy’s appearance before Congress in particular. Remaining the minority party in the U.S. House at present, though, it’s unclear what they’ll be able to get – for now.
Maryland’s U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, who serves as the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asserted:
‘Republicans have failed to conduct basic, independent investigations of President Trump’s conflicts of interest, but this is exactly what the Constitution requires, and it is what Democrats will do if we are fortunate enough to be in the majority in November.’
Although it’s in question who exactly will constitute the majority of the U.S. Senate after the soon to be completed midterms, it’s less up in the air who’s going to lead the U.S. House come January 2019. FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 6 in 7 chance of pulling off the change, estimating they’ll pick up some 39 seats — well above the couple dozen they’d need for a majority.
In the case that they do become the majority, they’d have the full power of the U.S. House at their disposal and be able to issue subpoenas, kickstart investigations, and beyond at will.
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