House Dems accuse GOP of myriad oversight failures on Trump

House Dems accuse GOP of myriad oversight failures on Trump
© Greg Nash

House Democrats are turning up the heat on Republicans, accusing them of negligent oversight of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE in hopes the charge of “complicity” resonates with voters in November. 

Behind Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTop Democrats request meeting with intel chief over sharing of classified info Overnight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet 'Our Cartoon President' takes on Mueller probe, NATO and Melania in second season MORE (Calif.), the Democrats on Monday released an extensive memo designed to lay out their case that, when it comes to holding the administration accountable, Republicans have abandoned their role in order to protect their ally in the White House.

The compendium — entitled “Complicit: House GOP’s Reckless Campaign to Cover-up for President Trump” — touches on a wide range of issues where the party finds Republican oversight either lacking or nonexistent. They’re billing the effort as a collection of “low points in the GOP’s efforts to aid and abet Trump’s corruption.”

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In pursuing the strategy, Democratic leaders are attempting a delicate balancing act. While taking pains not to make the midterm elections a referendum on Trump himself — a strategy that backfired on the party in 2016 — they’re attacking Capitol Hill Republicans for soft-pedaling the many controversies swirling around the president and his administration.

The new memo highlights a laundry list of such issues, focused largely on Trump’s repeated attacks on the Justice Department, which have been echoed by a number of Republican lawmakers, and his efforts to debunk the ongoing investigation into potential ties between his campaign and the Russians who sought to sink the 2016 campaign of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' 10 things we learned from Peter Strzok's congressional testimony Get ready for summit with no agenda and calculated risks MORE.

Democrats are singling out Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Health Care: Official defends suspending insurer payments | What Kavanaugh's nomination means for ObamaCare | Panel approves bill to halt employer mandate House panel advances bill that would temporarily halt ObamaCare's employer mandate Nunes leaves in middle of hearing following questions on Russia probe MORE (R-Calif.) for particular scrutiny. Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has become a star in the eyes of conservatives for his biting criticisms of the Russia probe, led by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, and his own memo accusing the FBI of misconduct in its investigation of former Trump adviser Carter Page.

“This piece of propaganda,” the Democrats charge, “sought to discredit the Department of Justice and the ongoing Russia investigation.”

The Democrats are also taking on Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFormer FBI lawyer Lisa Page gets closed-door grilling from House Republicans 5 takeaways from wild hearing with controversial FBI agent GOP lawmaker asks FBI agent about lying to wife over affair MORE (R-Va.) — who has refused to hold hearings on Russia’s election interference while pursuing a series of probes into Clinton — and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGowdy rules out Rosenstein impeachment Russians' indictment casts shadow ahead of Trump-Putin summit Gowdy: I don't think Mueller probe is a witch hunt MORE (R-S.C.), who has blocked dozens of Democratic subpoena requests for information related to Moscow’s meddling and Trump’s business interests, among other issues.

Democratic voters were riled up by Trump’s surprise ascension to the White House, and party leaders are hoping to build on that energy — and expand their base — by promising a tough new oversight regime if they win the House in November. 

“Having Democrats in control of the House of Representatives will be about accountability and oversight of the executive branch, something that has been — not lacking — it's woefully lacking,” Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters recently.

Highlighting the limits of their anti-Trump campaign, however, Democratic leaders have sought to discourage any talk of impeaching the president, warning that it could backfire at the polls if Trump’s conservative base becomes invigorated over the threat that Democrats would try to oust the president as a first act in the majority. Indeed, a number of Republicans are running their campaigns on that very message. 

“There’s no doubt they will [try to impeach],” Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseGOP leaders jockey for affection of House conservatives Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Overnight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law MORE (La.), the Republican whip, told the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt last week. “They’ve telegraphed a lot of that. Their base is so far radical to the left.”

Thus far, the Democratic impeachment champions on Capitol Hill — urged on by the party’s liberal base — have ignored the leadership warnings. 

Reps. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenPeter Strzok exhibited an astonishing lack of self-awareness Dem walks back 'Purple Heart' defense of Strzok Schumer: Trump should cancel meeting with Putin MORE (D-Tenn.) and Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralEric Holder: Calls to abolish ICE are 'a gift to Republicans' Dems say they'll vote 'no' on their 'Abolish ICE' legislation House GOP to bring Dem ‘abolish ICE’ bill up for vote MORE (D-N.Y.) are planning a public forum in New York City next week to magnify their impeachment message. And Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenTom Steyer compares movement to impeach Trump to civil rights movement Juan Williams: Midterms will be referendum on Trump Dem lawmaker: We will impeach Trump if we retake the House MORE (D-Texas) on Monday took the remarkable step of going after Pelosi for her entreaties to silence the impeachment talk. Green, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus who’s accused Trump of sowing racial divisions, took issue with Pelosi’s recent assessment that impeachment demands more serious offenses than “being a jerk.”

“He’s not just some ‘jerk,’ ” Green said. “He’s the president of the United States with a bigoted policy agenda.”