On Wednesday President Trump slammed Democrats for impeachment talks
and investigations into his administration trying to
find incriminating evidence while neglecting their jobs in the process.
”The Democrats are getting ZERO work done in Congress,” Trump said in a series of tweets.
“All they are focused on is trying to prove the Mueller Report wrong, the Witch Hunt!
”Trump said that Mueller’s investigation was “illegally started,” and resulted in a finding of no collusion between his campaign and Russia,
but that has not stopped Democrats from trying to push him out of office.”Now they say Impeach President Trump,
even though he did nothin wrong, while they ‘fish!’” he said.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is meeting with Democrats on Wednesday morning,
where issues ranging from subpoenas to impeachment calls are likely to be discussed.Reps. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.
, David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., are among those who have publicly supported an impeachment inquiry into the president for obstruction of justice.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep Jerrold Nadler,
Furthermore D-N.Y., said Trump was “making it very difficult to avoid” considering impeachment, after the administration instructed
Because former White House Counsel Don McGahn not to appear before the committee Tuesday, despite being subpoenaed.However,
Moreover Pelosi has been resisting pushes for impeachment and insisted that there is “no divide” in her party.
Pelosi has suggested that an impeachment inquiry could be used as an excuse for House committees to subpoena Trump’s personal information,
but stopped short of endorsing impeachment itself.
First, the House Judiciary Committee authorized a subpoena for the Mueller report, which has remained cloistered inside the Trump Justice Department since the special counsel,
Robert Mueller, delivered it, two weeks ago.
Later on Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee issued its own requests, for the President’s tax returns, which he has refused to make public,
unlike every other President for the past forty years.
The House Oversight Committee, meanwhile, turned up evidence that the White House may have overruled professional staff to grant security clearances to twenty-five Administration officials who would not have otherwise received them,
including, the Washington Post reported, the Presidential son-in-law, Jared Kushner.And then, late Wednesday,
But news came that was both unsurprising and extremely significant:
some members of the Mueller team were dismayed by the attenuated characterization of their findings that Trump’s Attorney General,
William Barr,released two weeks ago.
and Barr’s four-page letter, sources told the Times, portrayed their four-hundred-page report as more exculpatory of the President than it actually is
(a story later matched by the Post and NBC News).Team Mueller,
it turned out, had prepared its own summaries of the allegations against Trump, assuming that the Attorney General would share them with the public and Congress,
but Barr chose not to release them.Was this evidence of a political fix, a crafty act of preëmption by the Attorney General?
Or was it a mere matter of making sure that secret information did not inadvertently become public, as the Justice Department suggested,
in a statement on Thursday morning?
However it shakes out, Congress’s Investigation Wednesday was a reminder that Trump’s best news cycle about the Mueller report has long since come and gone.
“A bunch of sneaky, unethical leakers,”
Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani said, on Fox News, about Mueller’s staff soon after the news stories broke.
The gloating-Trump phase of the Mueller investigation was clearly over.
Giuliani abandoned the unconvincing praise for the special counsel’s team that he and Trump had briefly adopted
they claimed that the Mueller report was a “complete and total exoneration”—
which it does not seem to be. Since the release of Barr’s summary,
the President and his lawyer had been insisting that Trump was the victim of “the single greatest hoax in the history of our country,”
and that the Mueller results proved it.
By Thursday morning, though, Trump was back to tweeting about “fake news”
and the “witch hunt” and making clear that he did not want the full report to be released.
Trump will keep calling it “the Collusion Delusion,”
but the President noted that he was not fully rid of the investigation that has hung over his Presidency from its start.
“Some Democrats are fighting hard to keep the Witch Hunt alive,” he tweeted.
“There is nothing we can ever give to the Democrats that will make them happy. This is the highest level of Presidential Harassment in the history of our Country!”
He is right, at least on the first count. The “witch hunt” lives.
The debate over the investigation is not over, and it won’t be until and unless Barr releases the report in full and there is a reliable account of what its findings actually are.
I caught up with Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee,
on the sidelines of a foreign-policy conference, a few minutes after Trump’s plaintive tweets.
Last week, Schiff had eloquently punctured the President’s vindication rhetoric with a viral speech pointing out all of the disturbing questions
that remain about Trump and his misleading, unexplained behavior toward Russia as it interfered in the 2016 election.
The speech infuriated Trump, and he called out the congressman at a Michigan rally and on his Twitter feed, vilifying him as Shifty Schiff, among other names.
Trump’s cry of complete exoneration seems even more questionable today, given the news reports,
and Schiff told me that he and others had long had “well-placed skepticism” about Barr. Now, of course,
Barr’s moves will be subjected to endless second-guessing. “
He’ll have to answer,” Schiff said, to the serious questions about whether “he substituted his own opinion for those of the special counsel.”
There is no coverup that will last.
One way or another, we will ultimately know what’s in the report; what happened behind the scenes in the Mueller probe; what, if anything,
there is to claims that Trump and his team knew about the Russian hacking in 2016; and what the President did or didn’t do to shut down the investigation of it.
“It is going to come out,” Schiff said, perhaps the one certainty in this otherwise uncertain moment.
So will history remember the Russia investigation as a hoax, I asked, or as a genuine scandal? Schiff wouldn’t answer directly, beyond saying that, for him, “
The bar is not only what’s criminal; it should also be what’s ethical and what’s right.”
As for the question of when Congress and the public will see the report and just what’s in it, the chairman told me that the matter is, once again, in Barr’s hands.
“I think the Attorney General will release something,” Schiff said.“The question is: Is he going to release a redacted report or release his own report,
knowing that large, blacked-out sections are going to look like he’s hiding something?”