Opinion | Judiciary

Democrats should be careful wielding more investigations

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The redacted version of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller has finally been released. It shows that Attorney General William Barr told the truth to the public weeks ago when he said the investigation found no collusion and President Trump was not guilty of obstruction of justice.

Democrats, most of whom have spent the last two years insisting that both of those things were true, have been stripped of the most significant weapons in their arsenal. Worse, it has now been demonstrated that the biggest weapons in their arsenal were never really weapons at all, and that is just embarrassing. This means Democrats are about to resort to their standard operating procedure of bullying their top political opponents.

This is nothing new. Democrats in power long have used their clout to harass, intimidate, and threaten their political opponents in furthering their political agenda. In the first two years of the Obama administration, the Internal Revenue Service was targeting its political opponents in violation of their First Amendment rights. Personal and business audits of Tea Party donors, activists, and supporters went through the roof, as did ridiculous questions about the subjects of our discussions and the contents of our prayers. No one has been held accountable to this day.

Remember the story of Brendan Eich, who was forced out of his job as chief executive officer of Mozilla in 2014 after gay rights activists learned of his $1,000 contribution in support of California Proposition 8, which declared marriage to be the union of one man and one woman? Political opponents were not the only ones targeted for bullying by the Obama administration. Journalists with the temerity to report stories that cast its officials and policies in an unflattering light were also bullied. Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, New York Times reporter James Risen, and Fox News reporter James Rosen were bullied by the Obama administration.

With Democrats now in control of one chamber of Congress, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal is using this newfound power to demand that the Internal Revenue Service turn over the last six years worth of tax returns of Donald Trump, ostensibly so the panel can determine if the agency is properly auditing the returns of the president. But if that is the case, why is Neal insisting on getting his hands on returns for tax years before Trump was even a candidate, let alone the president?

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff are doing their parts to bully the president, issuing subpoenas for documents from Deutsche Bank, one of the banks used by Trump. House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings joined in, issuing a subpoena to Mazars, an accounting firm that has handled the financial statements of Trump. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, the granddaddy of them all, is continuing his own investigation into Russia collusion and obstruction of justice, and his fresh subpoena for the full unredacted version of the special counsel report and its underlying documents.

But Democrats should take note and be careful in their investigatory zeal. A new Monmouth University poll asked an interesting question now that Mueller is done with his work. "Should Congress move on to other issues or are there still concerns related to that investigation that Congress should continue to look into?" By a margin of 54 percent to 39 percent, the respondents answered it was time for Congress to move on to other issues. Sometimes, the proper action is not to do something but to just stand there. According to that poll, a majority of the American public appears to get that. Too bad Democratic leaders in Congress do not.

Jenny Beth Martin is the honorary chairman of Tea Party Patriots Action.

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