U.S. President Donald Trump completely reversed course on whether the White House will cooperate with the House Democrats’ investigation in corruption and obstruction of justice – a probe that’s widely viewed as a pretense for impeaching the president.
Addressing document requests made by the House Judiciary Committee, the president remarked:
“They didn’t give one letter. They didn’t do anything. They didn’t give one letter of the requests.
New: Trump appears to reverse himself after saying yesterday that he "cooperates with everybody."
Just now, he said Obama refused to comply. "They didn't give one letter. They didn't do anything. They didn't give one letter of the requests."
Signaled he favors this approach.
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) March 5, 2019
Just 24 hours earlier, Trump told reporters “I cooperate with everybody” when prompted about whether he’d play nice with House Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler’s (D-N.Y) expansive investigation.
Trump is attempting to delegitimize the investigation by saying that the committee did not make document requests. But you can view all 81 parties that received these requests on Nadler’s website, which provides e-copies of the letters that got sent out.
Document Request Targets Trump Campaign, DOJ, White House
The White House, Department of Justice, Trump Campaign, Trump Foundation, and many other Trump-related entities recieved document requests Monday, when the investigation was formally launched.
There is a good reason to be suspicious that Nadler’s investigation is not starting with a blank slate and attempting to paint an honest picture of the facts. Instead, in Nadler’s view, the conceptual association of the president as a criminal has already been established. The ‘fact-finding mission’ is simply the next step Democrats think they need to remove Trump from the Oval Office.
On Sunday, Nadler’s admitted on ABC he already believes Trump obstructed justice, which raises the question of why the entire Judiciary Committee should devote public resources to a fact-finding investigation that will finally get to the bottom of whether Trump obstructed justice.
Nadler told ABC’s George Stephanapolous:
“It’s very clear Trump obstructed justice. It’s very clear.”
If it’s “clear” the president obstructed justice, then why do taxpayers have to finance the Judiciary Committee’s investigation into whether the president obstructed justice? The “probe” is a transparently fraudulent political performance.
Trump Cites Obama’s Precedent
The Trump White House will not comply with document requests served by the committee for now. The White House’s justification? Democrat predecessor Barack Obama refused to comply with similar documentation requests during his own presidency.
This argument has some legs. Investigators in the House Natural Resources Committee criticized Obama in 2013 after Obama’s Department of Agriculture and Office of Management and Budget “failed to fully comply with the subpeonas and produce all of the requested documents by the September 18, 2013 deadline.”
It’s a somewhat shrewd tactic by the White House to justify its own actions by comparing them to the Obama administration, because it forces Trump’s critics on the left to reconcile the fact that the two administration’s may not have many similarities on the surface, but that they share functional similarities in terms of how the executive branch operates.
One might recall that Trump’s controversial “travel ban” restricted travel into the United States from people hailing from a handful of Muslim-majority countries – and the list of countries was actually drafted by Obama administration officials before Trump took office.
“The Obama-signed law contains provisions that restrict travel to the United States for people who lived in or visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria since March 2011. They must have a visa to enter the United States; they can’t use what is known as the Visa Waiver Program, which allows 90-day U.S. visits to other foreign visitors.”
The law was soon expanded by Obama’s Department of Homeland Security to cover Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. They were identified in the agency’s announcement as ‘countries of concern,’ a phrase used in the law.
Trump’s travel ban list restricted travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela. The Supreme Court ultimately affirmed that the president – whether it is Obama or Trump (or even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sometime down the line?) – acted constitutionally with the travel restrictions. The whole thing was legal, and it even had conceptual origins in actions taken by the previous administration.
Takeaway: Trump Wants The Fight The Democrats Are Bringing To The Table
In all likelihood, Trump is simply stalling for the time being with the delegitimization ploy and hoping that Democrats actually go through with their impeachment threat, which a host of Republicans think will be a good element to infuse into his 2020 reelection campaign.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.com.