Democrats vow Trump probes to go on after impeachment trial ends
Washington – President Donald Trump’s scrutiny by Congress won’t end with his expected acquittal in the Senate. House Democrats have a list of inquiries they plan to pursue when the impeachment saga is over.
“The investigations and oversight will continue,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, head of the Oversight and Reform Committee, the lead investigative panel in the House. “We’ve got several cases.”
Democratic-led committees in the House will keep seeking a wide range of evidence and testimony as they look into Trump’s administration, his policies and his businesses and finances. They also plan to keep a focus on his conduct in dealing with Ukraine.
In addition, there are multiple court cases running on separate tracks seeking access to his tax returns, testimony from former White House officials and financial records to show whether the president is unlawfully profiting from foreign governments. Three of the cases will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in the spring.
This all will be occurring in the middle of an election campaign in which both parties will be fighting for control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.
Trump’s trial is scheduled conclude Wednesday with a vote in the Senate on the two articles of impeachment adopted by the House a little more than six weeks ago. With 67 votes needed to convict Trump in the GOP-led chamber, the president is expected to be easily acquitted.
The night before, Trump will stand before both chambers in the House rostrum to deliver his State of the Union address to lay out his election-year agenda.
Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a member of both the Oversight and Intelligence committees, said Democrats learned some lessons from the impeachment inquiry, in which Trump refused to provide documents or allow testimony from White House officials.
“It just makes us more wizened and more knowledgeable about all the different ways the other side is going to evade oversight, and to plan accordingly,” Krishnamoorthi said.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader, said he has no doubt that House Democrats will now intensify their Trump investigations. “That’s their only agenda,” he said.
Several committees already have probes under way.
The House Ways and Means Committee, led by Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, is still seeking the president’s tax returns from the Treasury Department. The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees, chaired by California Reps. Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff, have been pursuing in the courts information from Trump’s lenders, including Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp.
One of the cases before the Supreme Court involves Maloney’s committee and centers on whether the Constitution prohibits subpoenas issued to Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, LLP.
The committee wants Mazars to provide non-privileged financial records relating to Trump and certain of his business entities. Trump sued in April to block the panel’s subpoena for eight years of financial records held by Mazars.
The committee also is pressing in federal court for documents tied to its investigation into the Trump administration’s failed bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The Judiciary Committee, led by New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler is seeking to view transcripts, papers and other secret grand jury materials from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The panel also has sued to enforce a subpoena issued last year for testimony by former White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Maloney and other House committee leaders said they aren’t concerned about a backlash from voters fatigued by continuing probes of Trump on top of the impeachment effort and Mueller’s inquiry.
“We’re not going to back off,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He said “so much of the information that chairpersons of committees need has been blocked” because of White House claims of executive privilege.
Krishnamoorthi said it’s GOP lawmakers who should be concerned.
“I think Republicans will pay a price for voting down repeatedly motions for more information,” he said. “I think our political process has interesting consequences at the polls. One consequence could be that stonewalling could not be a good thing for your electoral prospects.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t saying whether House Democrats will specifically pursue Ukraine-related testimony and evidence their impeachment managers were unable to obtain during the trial. That includes hearing from former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
She told reporters Thursday that “we do believe there is more truth for the American people to know.”
“We’ll see what happens,” added Pelosi, going on to recite what is fast becoming a mantra: “No matter what the senators have the courage or not to do, he will be impeached forever.”