During a hearing this Thursday of a subcommittee on the House Judiciary Committee that was fashioned to look at the so-called weaponization of the federal government, Stacey Plaskett — the top Democrat on the panel — confronted in her opening remarks the arguably looming threat of real-world governmental weaponization by Donald Trump. Trump, of course, continues running for another term as president while also facing four criminal cases and multiple civil cases.
The stated focus of the GOP-led hearing was ostensible suppression on social media of conservative voices — an idea of a conspiracy for which there’s no clear, systematic evidence, Democrats say.
Plaskett spoke of having pushed for “a discussion in a hearing of actions by the former president, Donald Trump, and what he has said he will do to weaponize our government if re-elected. However, we’re not having a hearing about those topics. We’re not having discussions. Congress is not engaged in making any headway on those things that Americans are most concerned with.”
She’d also referenced as a prospective area for investigation the rate of IRS audits undertaken against lower-income Americans and noted that many Americans’ most lingering concerns are so-called kitchen table issues. Polling shows consistently that many are most concerned among a host of areas with the economy.
Examples Plaskett cited of claimed threats Trump is posing to the integrity of federal government operations included his stated intentions to revive the Muslim-targeting travel bans from his presidential term should he regain the presidency. She also mentioned the language Trump used against ret. Gen. Mark Milley, who until recently was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a military position. Trump suggested this official deserved execution based on historical precedent — an extreme assertion that nonetheless did not spur any mass exodus from Trump’s corner among Republicans.
Trump also continues talking about wanting to use other levers of governmental power, like indictments, against various opponents. As for some of the consequences, Plaskett characterized Trump’s ambitions of cultivating a national security apparatus loyal to him as undercutting the very continuance of national security in the event that politics essentially leads the way instead of security expertise.
The full hearing is below: