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Trump’s Attack On Congressional Oversight

June 9, 2019

For someone who has on several occasions claimed to have the most transparency of any administration in the history of this country, Donald Trump is doing his best to indicate he has plenty that he wants to hide from both the American people and our elected representatives in Congress. Since Democrats achieved a majority in the House of Representatives as a result of the 2018 midterm elections and the submission of the Special Counsel’s report earlier this year, there has been far less cooperation between the White House and Congressional oversight committees than existed when both houses of Congress were dominated by individuals more interested in whitewashing questionable activities in the Executive Branch.

As far as the Mueller Report is concerned, the total misrepresentation of that lengthy and thorough report by new Attorney General Barr ( in his four page summary report to Congress and subsequent release of a heavily redacted version of the complete report) has resulted in a degree of delay, distraction and non-compliance with requests for personal testimony and documents important to a thorough investigation by committees with a clear Constitutional oversight role than has been displayed by any US Administration since President Nixon. A complete  stonewalling of testimony and release of documents pertaining to Trump personal and business activities has taken place – at the direction of the President -  claiming a degree of Executive Privilege that will require court intervention to resolve.

Even the President’s personal and business tax returns are being withheld from being given to appropriate Congressional oversight in contravention of a federal law mandating such release upon request by the appropriate Committee Chair. The Attorney General and former White House Counsel Don McGahn have thus far refused to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, under threat of being held in contempt of Congress for such refusal. The President has basically called for no further cooperation with the Congressional Investigations resulting from the Mueller report, either in the form of testimony under oath before Congress or submission of documents requested.

The refusal to release tax information alone places President Trump in a league of his own when it pertains to convenient secrecy among even those who have merely run for the office for at least the past 50 years. As President, he has even less standing to refuse to submit the information, in light of the law passed almost a century ago highlighting appropriate procedures for obtaining that information. His position that he cannot release the returns because he’s under IRS audit is irrelevant even if he is under audit ( which to the best of my knowledge has not even been verified). For some reason, he wants the information contained in these returns to remain secret. Perhaps there is information there that could be used as evidence against him in a criminal case. Perhaps he believes information contained there would ruin his spotless reputation as a superior businessman and a model worthy of universal emulation. At the least, perhaps it would make one or two people reconsider his fitness to serve as our elected President for another term and damage the future profits he could make by publishing his memoirs.

None of us really knows for certain why Donald Trump does what he does when he does it. Millions more of us did not want him to become President after the 2016 elections than did. He wants to make sure that number doesn’t become even greater before November of 2020, so he can continue trying to shape the country to his liking for at least another four years and keeping as much information muddled as possible increases the likelihood that he can succeed in accomplishing that. Can this country and humanity as a whole afford to give him four more years of ruling the way he has been since he was inaugurated? Just because he was able to ascend to the position of power he now occupies does not give him the right to hide evidence that may rightly lead to his having to abandon that position – be it to pay for illegal activities he has engaged in or to lose his bid for re-election as a result of a more fully informed electorate expressing its preference for a different leader with fewer skeletons in her or his closet.

Congress needs to do its job in legislating to improve the lives of the American people, keep us safe from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and preserve the very planet as a place suitable for life in general. The trends that our economy, foreign relations and human rights have taken under this President have not been positive for most people living here or being affected abroad by US policies. Constant distractions caused by this President reflect badly on this country and detract from our ability to lead productive and fulfilling lives. We need to put an end to his constant lying to justify actions he takes that hurt rather far more people than they help. Impeach him or don’t, but make sure we get the information we need to have in order to obtain the governmental leadership necessary to achieve morally acceptable and sustainable goal in the future. We don’t need to Make America Great Again. The notion that it ever was great is easily disputable. The directions he has been heading for definitely are not an improvement over what his predecessors left him.

Trump’s attempts to improve health care, fix tax policy, address immigration and deal with the myriad issues facing us now has been a miserable failure so far. He has shown no inclination to govern rather than rule. Everyday he remains in office with a totally compliant Senate helping him to remake the judiciary to suit his own ends takes us closer to a world where most of us are mere pawns serving the desires of the few at our own expense. This neither makes America great nor improves the conditions for the world at large. Stop him in his tracks when he tries to play tin horn dictator who needs answer to no one other than the one he sees in the mirror when he looks up from his most recent twitter rant. Obstructing justice is wrong. A person holding a position of power under false pretenses is denying justice to us all. No executive privilege should allow corruption and abuse of power to not only exist but thrive as it is now doing in the form of the Trump Administration. Stop mouthing the talk of governmental transparency and start actually practicing it. There are millions of people in this country better suited to being its President than Donald Trump. Let’s make sure we inaugurate one on January 20, 2021.

Further Suggested Readings:

Steve Mnuchin says the courts can settle the debate over Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Are We in a Constitutional Crisis?

NYT: White House plans to tell McGahn to skip House Judiciary testimony

Republicans growing increasingly frustrated with Trump for stonewalling Congressional oversight: report

Democrats ridicule Trump’s absurd claim he’s ‘the most transparent president in the history of this country’ with a  series of snarky letters

Robert Mueller says he didn’t clear Trump on obstruction of justice in dramatic statement — it’s up to Congress to act

Mueller directly refutes White House claim that his report exonerates Trump

Mueller intended to break Democrats’ impeachment stalemate

Trump Vows Stonewall of ‘All’ House Subpoenas

The White House Shows That It Can Ignore The Judicial Branch Just As Well As The Legislative

White House blocks Hope Hicks, Annie Donaldson from complying with House subpoenas

Welcome to the Fourth Reich: Donald Trump’s assault on the rule of law will not end well

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  1. joephillips71 permalink

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  2. Reblogged this on Gourken's Brain Dump (more of a trickle actually) and commented:
    Rick has a great blog that he posts on frequently. His stuff is always informative and interesting. He also reblogs great stuff from other people. Definitely worth a read!


  3. Reblogged this on Astronomy Topic Of The Day and commented:
    Great article, reblogged without modification from Rick Cooley!

    Liked by 1 person

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