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A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

House Republicans Have a Secret List of Trump Scandals They’re Covering Up

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In New York Jonathan Chait writes something that I find stunningly cynical even for the GOP:

Axios has obtained a list of Trump administration scandals. The list hints at the overflowing sewer of Trumpian corruption and incompetence, and the refusal of congressional Republicans to investigate any of it. Oddly enough, this list is being circulated by Republicans in Congress. The list, composed of Democratic requests for hearings that Republicans have blocked, is meant to warn of what Congress would look into if Democrats win the midterms. Axios reports that Republican “stomachs are churning” at the mere thought that any of the items on the list could receive a public hearing.

The list includes the kinds of policies a normally functioning Congress would probe, including “Election security and hacking attempts,” “White House security clearances,” and “Hurricane response in Puerto Rico.” (Congress held bipartisan hearings on the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, but has not done so for the response to the hurricane in Puerto Rico, where hundreds of Americans died.) But most of the cases listed focus on corruption: “President Trump’s tax returns,” “Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization,” “Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin,” and on and on.

Probably the most picayune item on the list would be “White House staff’s personal email use,” though of course it might be difficult for Republicans to dismiss this issue given that they based their entire campaign on the premise that the use of personal email constitutes a grave criminal defense and continue to demand the imprisonment of Hillary Clinton for this very offense.

The most predominant theme of the list is corruption. Trump has maintained control of a private business empire, refused to disclose its details to the public, and has interwoven his private and public interests. Congressional Republicans refuse to take any steps to limit the potential for corruption and blackmail. Even the basic step of compelling disclosure of Trump’s tax returns, so that Americans could learn who might be bribing the president, is too much for them.

Republicans have so completely internalized their role as handmaidens to Trump’s corruption that they have turned evidence of his incompetence and guilt into an argument for maintaining their power to cover it up. Why are they emphasizing this point? Some Republican voters are unenthusiastic about the midterm elections, and fail to grasp the stakes. Since the base likes Trump much more than they do his congressional allies, it makes sense for the purposes of base mobilization to emphasize their role as Trump’s legal bodyguards.

Additionally, some of Trump’s allies have floated arguments that Trump would actually benefit from a Democratic Congress, giving him a useful foil to play off of. The Trump scandal list is likely aimed in part at Trump himself, reminding him of what he has to lose if Congress were to begin looking into his misconduct.

The public-facing version of the argument focuses on the specter of impeachment. . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Later in the article:

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial echoes the argument made by the party’s congressional wing. After acknowledging that Democratic leaders might be saying they have no intention to impeach the president if they win the House, it proceeds to argue that they will anyway. And the reason it provides is that … Trump is a gigantic crook: . . .

The list published in Axios is in an article by Jonathan Swan that begins:

Congressional Republicans are getting ready for hell.

Axios has obtained a spreadsheet that’s circulated through Republican circles on and off Capitol Hill — including at least one leadership office — that meticulously previews the investigations Democrats will likely launch if they flip the House.

Why this matters: Publicly, House Republicans are putting on a brave face about the midterms. But privately, they are scrambling to prepare for the worst. This document, which catalogs requests Democrats have already made, is part of that effort.

It has churned Republican stomachs. Here are some of the probes it predicts:

  • President Trump’s tax returns
  • Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization
  • Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin
  • The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels
  • James Comey’s firing
  • Trump’s firing of U.S. attorneys
  • Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings
  • White House staff’s personal email use
  • Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks
  • Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago
  • Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance
  • Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors
  • The travel ban
  • Family separation policy
  • Hurricane response in Puerto Rico
  • Election security and hacking attempts
  • White House security clearances

The spreadsheet — which I’m told originated in a senior House Republican office — catalogs more than 100 formal requests from House Democrats this Congress, spanning nearly every committee.

  • The spreadsheet includes  . . .

 

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2018 at 3:40 pm

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