The GOP Plan to Use Special Counsel to Squash Congressional Investigation
They’ve been making lots of ominous sounds about how now that there is a Special Counsel, we’re not going to be able to get the same amount of public information anymore.
(20) If we don't squelch GOP efforts to end Congressional #Russiagate inquiries *now*, Trump and the GOP could skate for *years*. Past 2018.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) May 18, 2017
Abramson is right as the media is writing headlines that assume this GOP false narrative:
@thehill The Watergate Special Prosecutor didn't throw the Watergate Select Committee into limbo
— mike sax (@evilsax) May 19, 2017
Rod Rosenstein has stated this is not true:
Several Republican senators asked Rosenstein if the Intelligence Committee could continue its work now that Mueller is conducting his investigation. Rosenstein was “unequivocal” that the panel can and should continue its investigation, according to the senators and staffers familiar with the meeting.
But they keep pushing on this string.
Now we’re hearing that Congress has to step back their work and public hearings per Robert Mueller. If this is true, it’s outrageous and all the plaudits Mueller received were misplaced-he’s not the man for the job after all.
“Republican senators signaled on Thursday that the Justice Department’s special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election and possible collusion by associates of President Trump would quite likely slow and narrow the scope of their own inquiries.”
Congress needs “to be focused on what our role is,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas and a member of the Intelligence Committee. “We’re not the F.B.I. We’re not the Department of Justice. We’re conducting oversight investigations and that’s, I think, our appropriate role.”
“Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said, “You’ve got a special counsel who has prosecutorial powers now, and I think we in Congress have to be very careful not to interfere. Public access to this is probably going to be very limited now. It’s going to really limit what the public will know about this.”
For Congress, the appointment of a special counsel means “you’re pretty well knocked out of the game,” Mr. Graham said. “And that’s probably the way it should be.”
That is not ‘as it should be.’ The public has a very clear public interest in knowing what happened. An investigation behind closed doors for the next two years and nothing further is the way it shouldn’t be and must not be.
This is in truth a total copout. Rosenstein himself in appointing the SC stated that the reason was a compelling public interest in knowing what happened.
I don’t remember the GOP scaling back Congressional investigations of Bill Clinton in the 1990s because of the Ken Starr Independent Counsel.
And with Watergate you had a Special Prosecutor alongside a Watergate Select Committee in Congress. The two worked in tandem on parallel tracks.
“Mr. Mueller’s new grip on the investigation also called into question whether Mr. Comey would accept any of the invitations issued by multiple congressional committees to testify next week about his firing. The testimony was widely anticipated as a chance for Mr. Comey to discuss a memo he wrote that said Mr. Trump asked him in February to drop the investigation of Mr. Flynn, an assertion Mr. Trump emphatically denied on Thursday.”
“Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, said he believed it would be more difficult for lawmakers to get information now.”
“I think Democrats probably should be asking themselves, sometimes you’ve got to be careful about what you ask for,” he said. “Because when you get it, all of a sudden you can’t get answers to things because now it’s an active investigation.”
Again, there is zero historical precedent for this-the opposite is true. There is a compelling public interest in this and so it cannot be made less public.
I’m very skeptical that Mueller has said this and I’m also very skeptical that Comey is refusing to testify and cannot be reached. As Seth Abramson says this is all game playing.
It’s a clever little gambit to try to shut out the public. This hardly shows they have a very high faith in Trump’s innocence. In any case, Trump alone cannot be criminally indicted, so by itself the Special Counsel is not a threat to him personally at least.
At this point the only patriotic Republican left is John McCain who continues to call for a Select Committee.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.