Democratic investigations bogged down by White House counter-offensives

Back in November when they retook the house, the Dems were full of bravado, threatening to rain fire and brimstone on the White House. After years in the political wilderness of the opposition, the Democrats in the Congress were eager to wield the power of house investigations to hurt their arch-nemesis in the White House, no matter the cost to the American citizen.

Back in November when they retook the house, the Dems were full of bravado, threatening to rain fire and brimstone on the White House. After years in the political wilderness of the opposition, the Democrats in the Congress were eager to wield the power of house investigations to hurt their arch-nemesis in the White House, no matter the cost to the American citizen.

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Democratic investigations bogged down by White House counter-offensives

-By Preetam Kaushik

Back in November when they retook the house, the Dems were full of bravado, threatening to rain fire and brimstone on the White House. After years in the political wilderness of the opposition, the Democrats in the Congress were eager to wield the power of house investigations to hurt their arch-nemesis in the White House, no matter the cost to the American citizen.

But half a year down the line, the chastening political reality is finally dawning on them. The release of the Mueller report was a crushing defeat for their morale. But to give the devil his due, the Dems were quick to pivot the dialogue in new directions, latching onto the crumbs laid out to them by their lackey Mueller.

But as the summer looms closer, virtually all of the attacks planned by the House Democrats as part of their very own “Spring Offensive” is going nowhere. They had fired off nearly half a dozen subpoenas as part of various House Committee investigations, looking at everything from the President’s taxes, to the current immigration policy, and more.

It was basically open season in Washington, with a big fat bulls-eye painted squarely on the White House! But all that optimism and bravado has given way to frustration and petulance, as a determined administration and a combative President has so far repulsed all attempts by a hostile House to eek out political victories.

Here is how the Democratic investigations are faring on these four fronts:

Subpoenas on Trump financial records hit by lawsuits

In what can only be termed as a blatant misuse of Congressional powers to harass a sitting US President, the Dems had issued subpoenas against financial institutions dealing with the businesses owned by the Trump family.

Leading this charge are two of the most virulent critics of the President, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif) of the much-maligned House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif) chair of the House Financial Services Committee.

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Their excuse – it is part of the series of investigations into foreign influence on US politics. Talk about beating a dead horse over and over again! The Mueller report has cleared Trump of all charges of collusion, yet delusional Democrats just cannot bring themselves to let it go.

The two main targets of the subpoenas, Deutsche Bank and Capital One, are long-term lenders to the President’s various business enterprises. Worryingly, they have both decided to bow down to Congressional pressure and comply with the subpoenas in May.

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Trump has quickly countered this with lawsuits on behalf of himself as well as his sons to block the subpoenas. The Dems have set a dangerous precedent with their careless and sweeping use of subpoena powers – in some instances, they have gone as far as demanding all transaction details dating back to the birth of the President’s children and grandchildren!

Investigations into the White House security clearances hit a dead-end

The Dems looking for fresh ammunition to hurl at the White House got a helping hand from a career official-turned-whistleblower from the White House called Tricia Newbold. According to her allegations, the senior White House officials had provided security clearances to many members of the staff despite serious disqualifying issues in their backgrounds.

While Newbold may have raised genuine non-partisan concerns, the problem with security clearances is that the background assessment inputs for this process come from the intelligence community. And we all know how many prominent members of that particular community, both past, and present, have issues with the GOP and especially President Trump.

Regardless, the Dems were quick to pounce upon the ensuing controversy, issuing subpoenas to White House officials. Chief among them was Chris Kline, the senior official responsible for issuing many of those clearances. Though the White House initially ordered Kline to ignore the subpoena, the President later relented while stonewalling any request for documents.

That proved to be a smart move, as Kline took full responsibility for his actions during the House Oversight Committee interview. The Dems were disappointed if they hoped to trace any fictional lines from Kline leading to the President or the White House Chief of Staff in this matter. Though the committee headed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) vowed to continue digging, since the buck has stopped with Kline, there precious little for them to pursue.

Judiciary Committee follow up on the Mueller report blocked by executive privilege

The House Judiciary Committee led by Jerrod Nadler (D-NY) has been valiantly pursuing the trail of breadcrumbs laid by Mueller in the obstruction of justice section of the report. The Dems here have zeroed in on former White House counsel Don McGahn as a key witness who could provide damaging info on the President.

Don McGahn had endured nearly 30 hours of interviews during the Mueller investigations. If the Dems in the Committee think they can extract anything new from him that a seasoned prosecutor like Mueller couldn’t, they have to get their head checked. This is clearly a tactical move aimed at creating a political theater involving a close advisor to the President, in order to harass and malign him.

Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has come out in support of McGahn. During his heated interview in the Senate, Attorney General Bill Barr also stated that McGahn would still be covered by executive privilege.

This implies that it is up to President Trump to decide if McGahn should appear before the Committee. The Dems are free to challenge it in court, which will only serve to drag this fight down further.

House Oversight Committee attacks on Immigration policy hits another “wall”

As the President’s top advisor on immigration policy, Stephen Miller has played a decisive role in shaping the current administration’s aggressive stance against illegal immigration. This has made him a key target for the progressives who cannot bear to see our borders secured against the threat from the south.

Once again, Congressman Elijah Cummings is the leading Democrat in this fight against the White House. And yet again Cummings and his fellow democrats face stiff resistance from the President who has refused to yield an inch to the Democrats in recent weeks. Stephen Miller has been asked not to appear before the Committee, or provide any of the documents requested by the Dems.

This is yet another stand-off that could go on for a long time. If the Dems want to play the role of an unstoppable force, the President is only too glad to play the role of an immovable object. The resulting impasse works in favor of the GOP and the White House with elections getting even closer. Their failure to eke out meaningful political victories could hurt them badly in the coming year.

Americans are already getting tired of the Dems refusal to leave the Mueller report aside and focus on more pressing issues like immigration, law & order, and health care to name a few. Their only hope of redemption is if they can somehow present a convincing case against this administration or the President in any of the charges currently being leveled. But with Trump and the GOP closing ranks, hope is receding fast for the Democrats.

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