As I said last night, losing the house will put Trump in the crosshairs of the crazies who intend on tying him up for the next 2 years in a barrage of subpoenas.
Here’s a list according to Mother Jones-
- White House security clearances (involving Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, national security adviser John Bolton, and others)
- The controversial addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census
- The Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban
- The State Department’s decision to close its cyber office
- The EPA’s use of a political loyalty list
- The possible participation of Cambridge Analytica’s foreign employees in US elections
- The deadly ambush in Niger that left four American soldiers dead
- The use of private email by White House officials
- Trump’s response to the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico
- The dealings of the Trump Foundation
- Potential conflicts of interest between Kushner’s business actions and his policy advice
- Payments the Trump Organization received from foreign sources
- Russian intervention with state voting systems
- Former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with foreign officials
“We could follow up on any and all items on this list,” a Democratic staffer on the committee says. The panel would not likely issue 64 subpoenas on Day One. Cummings, as chairman of the committee, will initially send out what are known as “chairman letters”—essentially polite but official requests for documents or testimony. But as chairman, he would be able to back up these requests with the threat of subpoena.
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have also been tracking all the times they have been turned down. In September, the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), published a 67-page summary of their efforts to “Document the Failings of the Trump Administration.” It provides something of a roadmap for what the committee might do in the next Congress. The report chronicles the more than 140 times Democratic members of the committee in the past 22 months have sent “oversight letters” to the Trump administration, usually requesting information—and usually getting no substantive reply. Many of these requests overlapped with those issued by the Democrats on the Oversight Committee.
These letters signal the Democrats’ interests in dozens of subjects. Those include:
- Nepotism in the Trump White House
- Trump’s (now-shuttered) voter fraud commission
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ inaccurate congressional testimony about his pre-election contacts with Russian officials and his post-election recusal from the Russian investigation
- Sessions’ reversal of Justice Department criminal justice reform initiatives
- Ivanka Trump’s business affairs and potential conflicts of interest
- Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey
- Trump administration measures (or lack thereof) to secure elections from foreign interference
- The White House’s use of non-disclosure agreements
- Payments received by Michael Cohen when he was Trump’s personal attorney
- Hush money Cohen paid to porn star Stormy Daniels (an action for which he pleaded guilty to a federal crime, while maintaining that Trump had been part of a criminal conspiracy)
- Trump’s endorsement of a Chinese telecommunications firm, a move that raised ethics concerns
- Trump’s income tax returns (which several Democrats have said they would seek)
Judiciary Committee Democrats, as noted in the report, have also asked the Justice Department inspector general to investigate whether FBI officials and agents leaked information during the 2016 campaign to benefit Trump and whether Trump and his aides, after the election, sought to discredit career investigators and the independence of the FBI. Nadler and Cummings have also requested subpoenas of Trump campaign data consultants regarding any communications they had with foreign actors during the 2016 campaign. One member of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), has introduced legislation to force Trump to create a public database of visitors to his Mar-a-Lago resort—a topic the committee could take up.
All this is a merely a slice of what’s in that 67-page report. “A lot of items in there would be a priority should Dems take the majority next year and Jerry is chair of the committee,” says a Democratic staffer on the Judiciary Committee. And Nadler has publicly expressed his interest in investigating how the Trump White House and the FBI handled the investigation of the sexual assault allegations levied against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The Democrats will not lack for investigative targets. As these reports show, there is a potpourri of possibilities for Democratic investigators—from Trump’s violations of the emoluments clause to pay-to-play policymaking. The challenge will be deciding what to focus on