House Democrats are continuing their efforts to hold the Trump administration accountable for their belligerent behavior. This Thursday, as Congress approached a recess, the House Oversight Committee approved a subpoena for wide swaths of records from the Trump administration that they have refused to hand over voluntarily. The subpoena names acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and demands that the president’s team deliver all “presidential records” that were transmitted by noncareer officials via unofficial messaging systems and never saved to an official one across the last little more than two years of President Donald Trump’s time in office. They’re also demanding records of any classified info transmitted at any point, no matter what was eventually done with it.
The investigation the panel has been trying to undertake in the face of stonewalling from the Trump team incorporates questions of just how far off course they’ve gone from legal demands for communication records to be preserved and for classified information to be handled appropriately. The federal government is not supposed to be functioning based on the kind of private WhatsApp chats with dictatorial foreign leaders that Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has been reported to be having.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) insisted:
‘There are serious questions about this White House’s use of personal email and text accounts. We must issue these subpoenas to get our answers… This is the law. We make the laws. If we are going to preserve our records, we need to preserve them consistently.’
There have been rumors of Kushner stepping so far out of line that he handed off information to the Saudis about those at odds with their regime. The Saudis have carried out a massive crackdown on opposition that has even included the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who worked for The Washington Post and was a legal permanent resident of the United States. The Trump team has consistently refused to even seem to try to hold Saudi leadership accountable for this, opting to instead lie and claim there’s not much evidence implicating them in the first place.
There are plenty of other possible issues inherent in the Trump team’s continued usage of private communication channels. Ironically, Republicans are the one who led the uproar over Hillary Clinton using a private email server, but they consistently refuse to see their hypocrisy. At the subpoena-sparking meeting in question this week, the House oversight panel’s top Republican, Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, insisted that the difference is that Clinton broke the law. There is no evidence she actually did so, and the FBI (not just James Comey) explicitly said otherwise.
There are numerous other probes that Democrats continue on with no matter what whining is coming from the right. Just this week, the Judiciary and Intelligence committees in the House hosted Robert Mueller himself to discuss his time as special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation.
Among other things, he pointed out that Trump could easily be criminally prosecuted once he left office.
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