Continued oversight of Trump administration necessary duty of Congress

We all knew this day would come, but still no one knows how it will end.

For some the summary of the Mueller report raises more questions than it answers about the commander in chief, including obstruction of justice. For others it is the continuation of a flawed process that should never have begun in the first place. But for most, it’s giant question mark. What is in the full report and will it ever be made public?

The Mueller report is a high and a low point in the drama that has engulfed our political psyche with visions of collusion, criminality, Russia, obstruction of justice, witch hunts, payouts, coverups, indictments, convictions, and prison sentences. But the moment of truth is upon us — to some extent. 

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Democrats have demanded, and rightly so, that the attorney general release the full report — no summaries, no analysis, and no scrubbed version. What is at stake here if the attorney general denies the will of the people’s representatives is a national and constitutional crisis as none we have seen before. And any attempt by the administration to exert executive privilege will paralyze the national politics and dominate the election.

Democrats have the public on their side. After years of hearing about the Mueller investigation, there should be no one under the illusion that a hidden final report would serve the public interest. 

There is a risk for Democrats in this charged environment.

To the surprise of many, it is not overreach to focus at the moment on the Mueller report. The operative phrase here is “at the moment.” Committee chairs of Oversight, Financial Services, Education and Labor and others have begun to peel back layers of the onion around other issues that are not related to the Mueller investigation.

The actions of the Trump administration and the White House that Democrats have begun to investigate range from apparent ethics violations and security clearances to the declaration of national emergency. 

Democrats were elected to deliver on certain campaign promises but also to serve as a counterweight to the president, in all matters from policy to oversight. These oversight duties will not dominate the news like the Mueller report, but they are necessary duty of Congress.

Smartly, Democrats did not put all of their oversight eggs in the Mueller report basket. From what we have witnessed so far, it is unlikely that they will.  

The Mueller report will be provided to Congress one way or the other. I am confident in that.

But it will not end of the debate on this president; it may be only the beginning.

Nadeam Elshami is policy director at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a lobbying law firm. He was formerly chief of staff for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). He has 25 years of experience in Congress, including negotiating policy on behalf of Democratic leadership and forming bipartisan relationships that helped move key pieces of legislation through a gridlocked Congress.