If you’re wondering what in the heck Democrats are doing for the people, wondering why they aren’t checking President Trump and federal agencies using their powers of oversight, here’s an answer: According to a Politico report, the Trump White House has ordered agencies to ignore Democrats requests for information. No more constitutional checks and balances.
“Trump’s aides are trying to shut down the release of information that could be used to attack the president,” Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey reported in Politico.
“The Trump administration’s plans to stonewall Democrats is in many ways unprecedented and could lead to a worsening of the gridlock in Washington. The White House is telling federal agencies to blow off Democratic lawmakers’ oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be weaponized against President Donald Trump.”
Republicans will no doubt respond to this report with a ‘partisan sources’ rebuttal, but Republican sources “inside and outside” of the Trump administration told Politico that “Uttam Dhillon, a White House lawyer, told agencies not to cooperate with such requests from Democrats.”
Furthermore, the Obama administration never ordered the same action, according to “a former longtime senior Republican staffer.”
The Trump administration explains this according to the Politico report by saying their policy is to only respond to the requests of chairmen: Republicans control Congress so there aren’t any Democratic chairmen.
Congressional oversight over the Executive branch and agencies is implied in the Constitution, and inherent in our system of checks and balances.
Congressional Republicans are mirroring the same disdain for ethics and oversight as the Trump White House, so there is no oversight of the Trump White House. In January, after the House Republican Conference voted to undermine the independence of the Office of Congressional Ethics and place it under a panel controlled by Republican leaders, Kellyanne Conway explained this move that would open the door for Jack Abramoff style corruption (aka, the opposite of “draining the swamp”) by saying, “There’s a mandate there for them to make significant change.”
Losing the popular vote and barely winning via the electoral college with a huge assist from Putin is not a mandate.
But even if it were, the mandate Trump voters thought they were voting for was a mandate to get insiders out of politics- to make things more fair for the little guy. Instead, they are getting abused by the man who promised them the moon and stars.
The way the Trump White House is shutting down Congressional Democrats is on par with how Mitch McConnell plotted the obstruction of President Obama at every turn, including refusing to even allow a vote on Obama’s Supreme Court pick for almost 300 days, so that McConnell could give the seat to Trump to fill.
There is always partisan bickering and no White House enjoys being the target of Congressional oversight by their opposing party. But, to unilaterally decided that they will no longer even respond to the minority party is unprecedented.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.