In their neverending quest to prove that President Donald Trump did absolutely nothing wrong, his legal team has attempted to essentially completely block off Congress from any kind of investigation into apparent personal misconduct by public officials, no matter the decades-long precedent for exactly that kind of investigation. Besides the argument from figures like controversial Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz that Trump’s conduct is legal in the first place thanks to the president’s personal conviction that he’s acting in the public interest, they’ve argued that Congress shouldn’t even be allowed to launch investigations without what they call a valid legislative purpose. Now, a report in the Daily Beast notes, that argument, which Trump’s team has brought in court cases, could upend plans for a Senate GOP-led investigation of Trump’s own political opponents.
That planned investigation would target the Bidens and thereby carry the torch of Trump’s ultimately failed attempt to bribe Ukraine into investigating the former vice president turned Democratic presidential candidate’s family on unfounded allegations of corruption. The problem is that any investigation of the Bidens would have an unclear at best connection to valid legislative purposes, making the president’s team’s arguments self-defeating and even potentially opening avenues for court challenges to their own planned probes.
Journalist David Lurie summarizes:
‘If Trump prevails on challenges to Congress’ oversight powers now before the Supreme Court, he may also limit the ability of his congressional allies to embark on the witch hunts Trump wants them to pursue against his political adversaries. Why? Because, in order to protect the president, Trump’s own lawyers and Bill Barr’s Justice Department are asking the Court to effectively bar Congress from investigating allegedly corrupt public officials.’
But that’s exactly the kind of investigation that Trump allies like Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is an ardent Trump ally, have been planning to launch. Just this weekend during an appearance on Face The Nation, he rattled off a list of his investigation plans, including targeting a whistleblower who helped reveal Trump’s original plot to bribe Ukraine. He also mentioned plans for an investigation of Hunter Biden, the former VP’s son — who, of course, is not a public official, has never been a public official, and has no apparent plans to try and become a public official. It’s Graham and his compatriots engaging in the exact kind of overreach that they’ve alleged of Dems.
‘If the Supreme Court accepts Trump’s argument, the investigation into the Biden conspiracy theory that Graham and his senate colleagues have committed to pursuing at Trump’s behest would be strictly constrained, if not ended. According to Sekulow and the DOJ, it is precisely such efforts to inquire into ‘personal’ corruption that are outside Congress’s oversight power.’
Of course, that argument from the Trump team is not exactly grounded in real Congressional precedent. In the aftermath of Congressional Republicans committing even further to protecting the president from scrutiny, House Dems like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (Calif.) have committed to continuing their own watchful eye on the president.