When they take back control of the House, Democratic committee chairs are planning to launch many investigations into President Donald Trump and his administration.
In a new interview with Axios, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said that the investigations will include Trump’s attacks on media outlets such as CNN. Schiff is slated to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (replacing Devin Nunes) when the new Congress convenes in January.
In the interview Schiff said “it is very squarely within our responsibility to find out” whether Trump’s intimidating actions targeting CNN and The Washington Post are an “abuse of the power of the presidency.”
Schiff said that one thing they will definitely investigate is the time that Trump told the United States Postmaster General to double shipping rates for Amazon, which would hurt their bottom line. (Amazon is owned by Trump nemesis Jeff Bezos who also owns The Washington Post.)
“This appears to be an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post,” Schiff told Axios.
Earlier this year, the Post reported that Trump met with Postmaster General Megan Brennan to ask her to raise Amazon’s shipping rates. He did these even though he had been told by his close aides that it didn’t make sense because Amazon in no way could be blamed for the U.S. Postal Service’s operating losses.
Schiff also told Axios that Congress will be examining whether Trump’s efforts to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner was an attempt to punish CNN. (Time Warner is CNN’s parent company.)
The Trump Justice Department said they were blocking the proposed merger because of anti-trust concerns. They denied that Trump’s unhappiness with CNN’s coverage of him was influencing the battle over the merger. In this case Trump’s actions could be seen as intentionally harming a large U.S. corporation. He appeared to be seeking retribution against the for-profit company for political reasons, which is improper.
Schiff’s comments to Axios come at a time when the president seems to be increasing his attacks on the press. During the campaign season when he held dozens of rallies, he led his unhinged supporters in loud chants of “CNN sucks.” Last week he revoked the White House press pass of CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta after a heated exchange with Trump during a news conference in which the president lashed out at several reporters.
These new comments by Schiff are very important. According to Axios:
“Until now, all Trump critics could do is complain about his escalating attacks on the media. With subpoena power and public hearings, the incoming House Democratic majority can demand emails and testimony to see if Trump used (in Schiff’s words) “the instruments of state power to punish the press.”
Donald Trump has abused the power of the presidency in many ways over the past two years, and when Democrats take control of the House they will finally hold him accountable for his actions. And for this, the American people will be grateful.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.