Nel's New Day

February 8, 2019

The U.S. House: Fighting a Cornered Animal

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 12:42 AM
Tags: ,

VP Mike Pence threatened a shutdown the day after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) delivered the State of the Union speech and tweeted, “The simple truth is Congress needs to do their job.” That’s exactly what the oversight Congress is doing—much to the dismay of DDT and his minions. Pence and DDT oppose the wishes of the U.S. people: 60 percent of U.S. people oppose the wall; a majority blames DDT for the shutdown that he said he would be “proud” to do; and DDT’s disapproval ratings spiked after he shut down the government. But this is only a start if DDT decides to shut down the government again in eight days.

Yesterday, I talked with someone who questioned whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) should have permitted the State of the Union address in the House chambers when another shutdown is imminent. I said that she had a strategy because DDT resembles a cornered animal, much like the brutal, vicious badger that snarls and goes for the scrotum to defeat its enemies. Known as masters of mayhem, badgers don’t register fear or pain while destroying everything in its path.

I’m guessing that Pelosi’s strategy includes the elimination of complaints from DDT’s base about refusing him his demand for the speech and scheduling the speech immediately before the House rolls into its job of oversight that causes news about the speech to disappear. The headline for the conservative Register-Guard from Eugene (OR) the day after the speech was “A Reach for Unity.” One day later, the same newspaper led with “House Launches New Probes,” news that will likely dominate the news for weeks and months—except for DDT’s possible shutdown. Like his longtime U.S. and Russian mobster associates, DDT threatened “war” if Democrats proceed with the investigation. He may have more than he bargained for as House committees delve into corruption and fraud.

For the past two years, U.S. House committee leaders repeated, “Yes, Mr. President, you’re right about everything.” Last year, House Republicans announced that DDT and his campaign showed no collusion with Russia. The message from the previous six years was “We hate you and will do anything to stop you” to President Obama.

Yesterday, however, the news from the House was totally reversed.

On the first day of the reorganized House Intelligence Committee, Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced a five-part reopening of the investigation that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) had closed down to protect DDT. Rachel Maddow cited these five parts:

  • The “scope and scale” of Russia’s electoral interference to influence U.S. politics and the government’s response;
  • Potential collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign, transition and administration and foreign governments;
  • Possibility that DDT and/or his family have been compromised by “foreign actors” or any or their leverage over their finances;
  • Vulnerability of DDT and/or his associates to “foreign exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion”;
  • The possibility of any foreign or domestic actors “seeking to impede, obstruct, and/or mislead authorized investigations into these matters, including those in the Congress.”

The video of Maddow’s commentary.

The first act of the Intelligence was a vote to send over 50 transcripts from its Russia investigation interviews to Robert Mueller. These include meetings with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and senior campaign aides Corey Lewandowski, Steve Bannon, and Hope Hicks. Republicans failed in their push to continue Nunes’ investigations into Hillary Clinton’s campaign and alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The GOP also failed in their attempts to send subpoenas to 12 officials including former FBI Director James Comey. The Democrats said that the committee wouldn’t issue subpoenas unless the witnesses refused to voluntarily witness.

Schiff also plans to draft legislation to “ensure the U.S. government is better positioned to counter future efforts to undermine our political process and national security.” The committee may also investigate the actions of Nunes because he had tried to cover up for DDT when Nunes was chair. Another point of investigation is Nunes’ meeting with dozens of foreign officials between DDT’s election and inauguration. He said that the committee will investigate efforts to impede or obstruct the investigation, including conduct by “those in the Congress.”

The House Judiciary Committee also held hearings on gun control, the first one on gun violence in eight years. White supremacist and conspiracy theorist Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said that DDT’s wall would stop violence, and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) asked, “Are members in Congress entitled to just make things up?” In an angry exchange, Gaetz responded that House members are “not entitled to their own facts.” Gaetz also demanded that survivors of the Parkland (FL) shooting be removed from the hearing because they interrupted his rant on illegal documentation. A video of the exchange.

The House Ways and Means Oversight Committee held a hearing about legislative proposals that would provide for the release of DDT’s tax returns. The discussion was about a part of the ethics bill H.R. 1, requiring presidents, vice presidents, and major-party nominees for these positions to release ten years of tax returns. These could reveal conflicts of interest and benefits from laws that they sign. A caucus is also requesting the expansion of the bill to disclosure of presidents’ business tax returns. If Congress fails to pass such a law, they could try to get copies of DDT’s tax returns through the federal tax code allowing chairs of congressional tax-writing committees to directly ask for them from the Treasury Department and examine them in a closed session. The committee could then vote to send a report to the House which could make some or all of the returns public.

Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) also spoke about how “most Republicans” have tried to keep people from voting by “cutting back on early voting, eliminating polling places, and taking other steps to reduce the number of people who vote.” He added, “Especially troubling, in some cases, they have engaged in illegal efforts to suppress the vote that target minority communities.” He asserted, “This is not Russia. This is the United States of America!” An example of possible election fraud was this past year in Georgia where Brian Kemp, who ran the election and purged 340,134 voters from the roles, achieved about 55,000 more votes than Stacey Abrams. Kemp told all counties that they were not to count provisional ballots from purged voters even “if they have been purged wrongly.”

Cummings also said that another provision of H.R. 1 prevents senior officials “from accepting ‘golden parachute’ payments from private sector employers in exchange for their government service.” For example, former Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn received over $100 million “in accelerated payments from Goldman Sachs while leading the Trump Administration’s efforts to slash corporate taxes.” Another section would “require transition teams to have ethics plans in place and make those plans publicly available,” while a third would “prohibit senior federal employees from working on matters that affect the financial interests of their former employers or prospective employers. They could obtain waivers for this requirement, but those waivers would have to be made public.” The bill would also require presidents to divest their business holdings.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, announced hearings about FCC’s lack of competence, its rejection of net neutrality, and Chair Ajit Pai’s refusal to respond to congressional concerns.

In its first meeting, the new subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce began an examination of the environmental and economic consequences of climate change—the first time in ten years. High-profile experts talked about the cost of Polar Vortex, people hurt by hurricanes, the need for renewable energy, and “politically-realistic” and “technology-inclusive” solutions to the challenge of climate change. Seven of ten Republicans on the committee have received $4,167,162 from fossil fuel contributors. One of the GOP members complained that the committee was not focusing on Black History Month.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is also looking into the shutdown impact (aka damage) on federal workers, national parks, and public health.

The House Armed Services committee is investigating how the decisions for troop deployments was made soon before the 2018 election midterms.

House Democrats also plan to investigate Sergei Millian, the Belarus-born businessman reported to be the source for the “pee” tapes in Christopher Steele’s DDT/Russia dossier.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), youngest member of the House, pointed out the ability of congressional members to be corrupt. They can:

  • Run a campaign that is entirely funded by corporate PACs.
  • Participate in any legislation.
  • Hold stocks and then write laws to deregulate that industry.

Ethics expert Walter Schaub said, “There’s almost no laws at all that apply to the president.”

And this committee action is only the tip of the iceberg in hearings and legislation to stop That’s why we need legislation to stop the corruption—to really drain the swamp.

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily 60 Second News

Transformational News; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: