WASHINGTON — Three months after his 448-page report was made public and two months after he issued a statement to reporters, former special counsel Robert Mueller finally testifies today before Congress.
And it underscores just how ineffective Democratic oversight of President Trump and his administration has been so far during the more than six months since Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives — especially given all of the possible targets.
Serve as a check on Trump if anything emerged from Mueller’s probe;
Investigate the president’s tax returns;
Zero in on alleged wrongdoing and corruption inside the administration.
Instead, per the Washington Post, House Democrats “have struggled to unearth major findings, hold high-profile hearings that move public sentiment or follow up on inquiries they laid out when the party took the majority in January.”
Compare that with how Republicans exercised their oversight powers during the Obama years. And we’d argue that Donald Trump isn’t president today without the GOP’s select committee on Benghazi – which uncovered Hillary Clinton’s private email system.
There’s no doubt that Democrats have struggled in their oversight because of the Trump administration’s fierce resistance.
It was just yesterday that Trump filed a lawsuit to prevent the House Ways and Means Committee from obtaining his state tax returns through a recently passed New York law.
There’s also no doubt that real oversight takes a lot of time, though future oversight seems more like an epilogue with the Democratic presidential debates already under way.
Still, the lack of urgency from Democrats — like Mueller testifying three months after his report became public, or not taking former White House counsel Don McGahn to court to force his testimony — only sends the message to average voters that holding Trump’s feet to the fire isn’t that big of a deal.
Which isn’t quite what Democrats promised in 2018.
Given Mueller’s reputation for being understated and for always operating by the book, it’s important to remember what he emphasized to the American public when he spoke on May 29.
“I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments — that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interference in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American”
Well guess what subject hasn’t really received that much attention since then?
Ahead of the second presidential debate next week in Detroit, 10 candidates are gathering in the Motor City this morning to address the 110th convention of the NAACP, per NBC’s Deepa Shivaram and Marianna Sotomayor.
The 10 candidates: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Bill Weld (who is the only Republican challenging Trump).
Throughout the week at the NAACP confab, 10,000 attendees have heard a similar message from speakers like Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Brenda Lawrence and Stacey Abrams – don’t sit this election out. Get engaged, get to the polls and get Donald Trump out of the White House.
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Both Harris and Biden are expected to talk about their criminal justice plans, and other plans to elevate black Americans, at the convention today, Shivaram and Sotomayor add.
The two candidates, whose back-and-forth on busing lasted for weeks after the last debate, will share the stage again next week in Detroit.
Biden is expected to mention details of his comprehensive plan to lessen the rate of incarceration, invest in communities with high rates of arrest and helping those leaving jail reenter society.
Also in Michigan today, Harris holds a rally with an SEIU union in Detroit; O’Rourke has a town hall in Flint; and Booker also travels to Flint… John Hickenlooper continues to campaign in Iowa… Kirsten Gillibrand delivers a foreign-policy speech in Chicago… And Buttigieg holds a grassroots fundraising event in San Francisco.
Last night, Bernie Sanders, Bill de Blasio and Elizabeth Warren spoke at the Unite Here rally at Reagan National airport in D.C., in support of airline workers protesting low wages. NBC’s Benjamin Pu has the highlights:
“Sanders, de Blasio, and Warren spoke to Airline Catering Workers and supporters at DCA. Workers are protesting poor wages and health care from American Airlines. Sanders, de Blasio, and Warren all spoke about the need to fight corporate greed and fight for better health care and better wages. Sanders and Warren did not refer to their presidential campaigns or ambitions. De Blasio, on the other hand, spoke at length about his campaign for president.”
That’s the share of Americans who say they are confident that former special counsel Robert Mueller conducted a fair investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election, according to the Pew Research Center.
That’s a high watermark since the organization started polling public confidence in Mueller in December 2017.
The reason for the high number? A record 60 percent of Republicans say they have faith in the fairness of the probe, up from 39 percent in January of this year. That was before the release of a redacted report that the president has pointed to as vindication for “no collusion!”, even though the report pointedly declined to completely exonerate Trump from charges of obstruction.