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 TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE in hopes the charge of “complicity” resonates with voters in November. 

Behind Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' 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 ClintonSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Hillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to 'crisis in democracy' in the US MORE.

Democrats are singling out Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesWe've lost sight of the real scandal Twitter won't disclose who's running parody accounts being sued by Devin Nunes Nunes campaign drops lawsuit against constituents who accused him of being a 'fake farmer' 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 (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal 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 GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview 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 GowdyRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Cummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump 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 ScaliseOn The Money: Senate panel scraps vote on key spending bill amid standoff | Democrats threaten to vote against defense bill over wall funding | Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House GOP rolls out energy proposal to counter Democrats offshore drilling ban 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 CohenTrump probes threaten to overshadow Democrats' agenda Ocasio-Cortez renews impeachment call amid probe involving Trump's Scotland property The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in on Hurricane Dorian projection MORE (D-Tenn.) and Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralHouse Democrats blur lines on support for impeachment Congressional Hispanic Caucus calls for answers on Mississippi ICE raids Congressional Hispanic Caucus members call for diversity within the Fed 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. GreenTen notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment Methane emissions continue to drop Two coal miners demand McGrath stop using their images in McConnell attack ad 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.”