House Judiciary Democrats are trying their best to protect the country from President Trump‘s ongoing mental health and incompetency issues. Today they are trying to get three Judiciary Republicans to sign a notice to force a vote on the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, which they say is needed due to Trump‘s “unhinged behavior toward law enforcement.”
The House Dems are invoking House Rule XI, Clause 2(c)(2), which would force the Committee to hold a special meeting to consider the legislation. They are trying to get three Republicans on the committee to sign a notice to Chairman Goodlatte to force consideration of H.R. 5476, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, legislation to protect the Special Counsel investigation. “… (I)f the chair has not called the requested meeting within three calendar days after the request was made, a majority of members may compel the holding of such a meeting. In this instance, the requisite time having passed since we made our request, we ask you to join us in establishing the majority needed to hold such a meeting.”
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN) sent the following joint statement to PoliticusUSA, citing Trump‘s “unhinged behavior toward law enforcement”:
“With each passing day, the evidence of President Trump’s animosity towards the Russia investigation and unhinged behavior towards law enforcement grows. In just the last week, we learned President Trump attempted to force the Justice Department to investigate an anonymous op-ed critical of his Administration, and reportedly described the Attorney General as ‘mentally retarded’ and a ‘dumb Southerner.’”
“Members of the Majority, both on and off the Committee, have repeatedly told us they want Special Counsel Mueller to be able to complete his inquiry unimpeded. It’s past time for these members to put our nation’s interests first by formally supporting this effort to advance the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act. If any three Republican Members sign our proposed notice by September 20th, we will be able to force a vote in our Committee before Congress adjourns for the mid-term elections and send a strong signal to the President and the American public about the importance of the rule of law.”
The House Dems pointed to that this is not normal in a letter they sent last week, noting, “In fact, President Trump has addressed the investigation or facts related to it no less than 505 times since the investigation began by our count…. President Trump has also condemned the Special Counsel investigation 139 times, including in 99 tweets in which he called the investigation a ‘witch hunt’ and 69 tweets in which he referred to the investigation as a ‘hoax,’ ‘rigged,’ or a ‘scam.'”
Further, “The need for this legislation is not hypothetical. News reports indicate that President Trump attempted more than once to fire Mr. Mueller. For example, the New York Times reported that President Trump wanted to fire Mr. Mueller in December 2017 when he grew ‘furious over news reports about a new round of subpoenas’ from the Special Counsel’s office.”
Trump has repeatedly mentioned getting involved in the investigation, he has admitted that he punished Brennan in part over the Russia investigation, his behavior has grown more and more unhinged – a word used by so many sources inside the White House to describe Trump now that it is hard to deny that it applies, Bob Woodward has just warned us that we should be afraid with Trump at the helm, and Trump‘s schedule repeatedly shows a man who is not doing the job of President, but is instead golfing, tweeting, watching Fox News, and then heading to rallies around the country to feed his ego and spew his unsourced, most often inaccurate and damagingly divisive claims about the “opposition.”
It can’t be said enough that in spite of Trump‘s claims, most of the law enforcement people he has attacked are Republicans. They were not his opposition. And that fact is what makes this even more frightening.
House Democrats are not in the majority and hence do not have the power to check the currently unfettered power House and Senate Republicans are giving Donald Trump, even though he is under FBI investigation. However, the Senate has moved on similar legislation, and this is really the very least the Republicans in the Judiciary Committee should be doing to at least pretend they are interested in having the Mueller probe actually protected and independent from their president.
The midterms could change all of this, and if they do, we will have a House that is doing its job of oversight.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ 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.