Wednesday, January 03, 2018

How Bad is the Republican Coverup on Trump and Russia?

GOP Rep. David Nunes and his Senate GOP counterparts continue to sabotage Russiagate investigations.

The last post yesterday looked at an op-ed in the New York Times that focused on the efforts of Congressional Republicans to cover up evidence damaging to Donald Trump and/or Mike Pence and to hide evidence of the real ties that existed between the Trump and/or his campaign and Russia and of collusion to throw the 2016 presidential campaign to Trump.  And that doesn't even begin to address the issues of possible criminal money laundering by Trump entities or the disturbing individuals with whom Trump has routinely done business.  Now a piece in the Washington Post raises questions of just how aggressive have Republicans been in covering up Trump/Russia collusion.  Here are some story highlights:
As we head into 2018, one big, looming unknown is this: Just how far will congressional Republicans go to prevent a full accounting of Russia’s interference in our election and any possible Trump campaign conspiracy with it?
Certain House Republicans are already working to frustrate the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation. Do Democrats have any recourse? The answer is yes — but within limits.
Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut — the No. 2 Democrat on the House intel committee — said that Democrats are seriously exploring the possibility of issuing a minority report that details (among other things) the degree to which Republicans tried to impede a full investigation, should that end up happening. In this scenario, the public would at least have a clear sense of just how far Republicans went to protect President Trump and his top officials from accountability. Rep. Devin Nunes, a Trump loyalist, may be wielding his influence as chairman of the intel committee to block critical lines of inquiry. Democrats have been alarmed by his tactics, especially the fact that despite his public recusal from the probe, he “never relinquished his sole, unchecked authority” to sign off on — or kill — efforts by Democrats to subpoena top Trump officials for more testimony:
People familiar with the committee’s work estimated that Nunes’s effective veto cost Democrats dozens of requests for interviews and documents that were never sent out, despite repeated entreaties from the minority side.
This includes requests for subpoenas to obtain additional testimony from key figures in the probe who Democrats say were not forthcoming enough in interviews — among them Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. Democrats surmise they might have compelled them to return if not for Nunes’s resistance.
In our interview, Himes confirmed that numerous Democratic requests to bring in witnesses haven’t been acted upon. . . . . Democrats want to ask Trump Jr. about a phone call he held with his father about his June 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer, which he took in the expectation of receiving dirt on Hillary Clinton supplied by the Russian government. Trump Jr. and his dad discussed this meeting just after news of it broke in July 2017. When questioned about this call by committee Democrats, he invoked attorney-client privilege. Democrats want to subpoena Trump Jr. to compel his testimony, which could shed light on what happened at that meeting and how far Trump has gone to prevent the truth about it from coming out.
It appears Nunes may have killed that effort. Meanwhile, Nunes’s investigative zeal is directed elsewhere: Politico recently reported that Nunes is quietly leading a group of House Republicans in an effort to build a case that senior Justice Department and FBI officials improperly handled the explosive “Steele dossier,” which describes links between Trump and Russia.
Trump today called on the Justice Department to target FBI officials for unnamed acts, generally furthering the narrative — fed by Nunes and conservative media — that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia probe shows Trump is the victim of a corrupt “deep state” plot to reverse the election, and that the perpetrators of that plot should be prosecuted. 
Himes confirmed to me that Democrats want to call Trump Jr. and Sessions back in to ask whether Papadoupoulos communicated to top campaign officials the existence of this Russian dirt on Clinton, and whether that is related to the June 2016 meeting to get said dirt from the Russian government. But it looks unlikely that Republicans will agree, and Himes said that if Republicans do end up frustrating a full inquiry more generally — and keep pushing the narrative of a deep-state coup against Trump — Democrats may issue a minority report detailing what Republicans really did here.
[W]e can empirically evaluate whether Republicans are — or aren’t — making a good-faith effort to interview all the witnesses necessary to establish the full truth about Russian interference and possible conspiracy with it. So far, there is reason for concern that they aren’t.
Republicans may be able to prevent the full truth from coming out, but they cannot prevent the full truth about their own efforts to frustrate an accounting from seeing the light of day. At which point, the Democrats’ recourse will be political — to further the cause of accountability, they will need to win the House in 2018.
Today's Republican Party is seemingly now the party of treason and subversion of American democracy.   

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