House Democrats plan to turn their Trump investigations into a ongoing public spectacle
Even before Robert Mueller has delivered his final communiqué, Democrats have activated a new phase in the Trump-Russia wars that ultimately could prove more damaging to the president than the special counsel’s investigation.
Why it matters: For Trump, this has been a behind-the-scenes probe, with sensational yet intermittent revelations. Now, it’s about to become a persistent and very public process — at best, a nuisance; at worst, a threat to his office.
- What’s new: Whether or not Mueller is sitting on a grand finale, Democrats are picking up the baton with a vast probe that already involves a half-dozen committees, and will include public hearings starring reluctant witnesses.
- What House Democrats are thinking after the public Cohen hearing, via an email to Axios from MSNBC analyst Matt Miller: “Incredible to start an investigation and have six months’ worth of leads on the first day.”
What Democrats are planning:
- They want to call Trump family members — with subpoenas, if necessary.
- The Democrats’ investigation will touch Trump’s businesses, foundation and presidency — and could extend into 2020, top Democrats tell me.
- Besides Russia, topics include conflicts of interest, money laundering, and Jared Kushner’s security clearance and other White House clearances. (N.Y. Times scoop: “Trump Ordered Officials to Give Kushner a Security Clearance.”)
- Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who’s on the House Oversight Committee, tells Axios’ Alayna Treene that committees are “zeroing in on the Moscow project, the Russia connection and the influence of other foreign actors like Saudi Arabia.”
- Well-wired Democrats tell us that even if the impeachment process doesn’t lead to a showdown vote, so much energy in the party is invested in the idea that they see little chance of heading off at least the opening stages.
Coming attractions: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the committee will hear from Felix Sater, a Russia-born executive who worked with Cohen on Trump Tower in Moscow, in an open hearing on March 14, per AP.
- The committee also plans to bring in longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.
- “It will only be a matter of time before the Oversight Committee requests that Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner speak to congressional investigators about their meetings, conversations and plans for a Trump Tower project in Moscow.”
- “The Trump Organization will receive requests for all emails, documents, notes and other evidence related to the internal deliberations about the project.”
- The Trump Organization’s coming “proctology exam”
- Democratic hit list: At least 85 Trump investigation targets