It’s possible-to-likely that sometime next year, President Trump will look back on the Mueller probe with yearning and nostalgia — given what’s about to happen to his administration in the newly Democratic House of Representatives.
.. Of these 27 committees, by my count, 22 deal with substantive matters in which the Democrats have already expressed displeasure with, or horror at, or concern over, the behavior of the Trump administration.
Let’s go through a few of them, shall we? The House Armed Services Committee deals with the US military and the Pentagon. Questions have been raised about the politicized nature of the president’s deployment of troops to the US border to protect the nation from the migrant caravan.
I bet you haven’t heard of Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, who will chair the committee. But you will. Oh, yes, you will — when he hauls Defense Secretary Jim Mattis into a hearing to go over how much the mission cost and who ordered it and what the purpose was and whether Mattis himself agreed with the idea.
He will be on the front pages of every newspaper and his hearing will be carried live on the cable news channels.
How about the House Foreign Affairs Committee? New York’s own Eliot Engel will be chairing that one, and you can bet Engel will be interested in hearing from State Department officials about the goings-on behind the scenes between Saudi Arabia and the United States, including questions about the commingling of American foreign policy with Trump family business interests.
Oh, and let’s not forget the House Judiciary Committee, shall we? My congressman, Jerry Nadler, will be in charge of that one. And he’s already vowed to call Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker as his first witness, over Whitaker’s “expressed hostility” to Mueller and the threat he represents to the “integrity of that investigation.”
But you can bet Nadler won’t stop with Whitaker. He’ll aim for Trump and those closest to him. He wants to look into Russian collusion as a possible preliminary to impeachment proceedings against the president.
Even a boring committee like Natural Resources has a fat target: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has had two different matters referred by the department’s inspector general for possible criminal prosecution.
Notice I haven’t even mentioned Ivanka’s e-mails. Or Jared Kushner’s family deals in China. Or about a hundred other controversial topics. And I can’t mention things that haven’t happened yet — weird new developments of the sort the Trump administration seems to generate every week and will certainly continue to generate in 2019.
Mueller’s probe has been mostly very quiet, except when indictments are issued and trials are conducted. It has also been largely confined to a single subject area. Most of the matters I’m talking about here will be discussed loudly and without restraint by those elected officials who will feel particularly emboldened by the midterm election results.
Those results not only showed a Democratic gain of as many as 40 seats in the House, but a national popular-vote margin of more than eight points over the Republicans in an off-year in which Democrats received nearly as many votes collectively as Donald Trump scored in 2016.