House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy prepares to speak to the media after unexpectedly dropping out of consideration to be the next Speaker of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8, 2015.
Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Investigation-loving House leader urges Dems to leave Trump alone


As Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) prepares to make the transition from House majority leader to House minority leader, he has some advice for the Democrats who’ll soon run the chamber: don’t investigate Donald Trump.

“Well, it’s a challenge,” McCarthy told Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer when asked about Democrats’ return to the majority in January. “It looks like what they’re going to focus on is just more investigations. I think America’s too great of a nation to have such a small agenda.”

He added that there are “other problems out there that we really should be focused upon” and that “both sides have come up with nothing” in investigating Trump.

The surface-level hypocrisy is hard to overlook. The House Republican conference that McCarthy helps lead is still examining Hillary Clinton’s email server protocols – a topic GOP lawmakers have investigated endlessly for years – and she hasn’t held public office since 2012.

For that matter, McCarthy was delighted when House Republicans scrutinized Benghazi conspiracy theories in ways no other single event has ever been investigated in congressional history. Indeed, it was the California Republican who effectively admitted on national television that the House GOP’s Benghazi committee was a taxpayer-funded political operation intended to undermine Hillary Clinton.

As for McCarthy’s belief that “both sides have come up with nothing” in investigating Trump, I’d remind the Republican leader that Democrats haven’t had subpoena power – and the GOP investigation from the House Intelligence Committee was a pathetic joke.

But stepping back and looking at McCarthy’s comments at a distance, there’s a related concern that comes into focus: Republican leaders sure do seem worried about House Democrats conducting oversight of Donald Trump’s White House.

Shortly before the midterm elections, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged Democrats not to use their power to investigate presidential scandals, condemning the practice as “presidential harassment.”

Shortly after the midterms, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who’ll soon chair the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned House Democrats that if they conduct investigations into Trump, he’ll investigate the Justice Department and its connection to his anti-Clinton conspiracy theories.

Two weeks ago, the president himself started making related threats, insisting that if House Dems conduct detailed oversight of his administration’s controversies, he’d declassify “devastating” information about his domestic political enemies.

It’s almost as if Republicans are filled with anxiety about what the House Democratic majority might find.