House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., argue during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, in Washington.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Despite Trump’s threats, Dems proceed with investigations

Updated

There’s a meaningful difference of opinion among many congressional Democrats about how best to investigate Donald Trump now that the Mueller report has been released. For some, a formal impeachment inquiry, initiated through the Judiciary Committee, is the only responsible course in light of the alleged crimes uncovered by the special counsel.

For others, including the House Democratic leadership, the fact-finding process must continue, but it can and should be done through existing oversight mechanisms.

This is not a disagreement over whether to investigate the president and his alleged misdeeds, but rather, how. Either way, as Roll Call noted, there’s no denying the fact that the process is moving forward.

House Democrats are starting to follow leads laid out in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report as their own investigations into President Donald Trump continue.

The caucus held a conference call Monday evening in which the six committee chairs who are investigating various matters involving Trump updated members on their next steps now that Mueller has concluded his investigation.

According to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close White House ally, House Dems will move forward with a “stampede” to impeach the president. If that’s true, it’s the slowest moving stampede anyone’s ever seen.

But as the process advances, I have a separate question: whatever happened to those threats Trump made in the hopes of scaring Democrats away from conducting oversight?

As regular readers may recall, the intimidation campaign began the day after the 2018 midterm elections. As results were still being tallied in parts of the country, Trump, acknowledging the incoming House Democratic majority, published a tweet warning Dems not to investigate his many scandals.

Hours later, at a White House press conference, the president suggested he wouldn’t even try to work with Congress on substantive issues if Democratic lawmakers scrutinized the controversies surrounding him. In his State of the Union address, Trump was even more explicit, insisting he would only work constructively with Congress if Dems agreed to look the other way on his many scandals.

The Republican added a couple of days later that he doesn’t believe such scrutiny should be “allowed.”

At one point, the president threatened to expose “very questionable things” unnamed Dems have done if he and his team faced investigations. He later raised the prospect of declassifying materials related to Robert Mueller’s investigation, which he predicted would expose some kind of conspiracy linking the FBI, the Justice Department, and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Democrats, Trump warned, “will see how devastating those pages are.”

Well, where are the pages? Where’s the evidence that exposes the “very questionable things” Democrats did?

Do you suppose it’s possible that the president was simply bluffing and the “devastating” information exists only in his imagination?