Once January is upon us, it is imperative that House Democrats investigate the administration of Donald Trump as aggressively as the law will allow. This is necessary due to the numerous red flags presented to the public regarding the abuse of powers by the President and individuals close to him.
The questions on the minds of the public are many. Did Trump use his power to obstruct the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections? What inspired the comments of the president toward Saudi Arabia in the moments after the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Has any of the president’s political decisions been influenced by his business endeavors? The list goes on and on.
Greg Sargent, the author of ‘An Uncivil War’, eloquently makes the case that the 45th President of the United States has strained the democratic institutions in the country in a way that has never before been considered.
The problem faced by the Democrats is the negative sentiments regarding investigations since the Republican Revolution in 1994. Congressional oversight is presently used to score political points within one’s own party and a tool to destroy the legitimacy of the opposition.
This condition causes many to believe it will be a mistake on the part of the Democrats to push forward with needed investigations now that they control the Congress. Many in Washington remember the Newt Gingrich push to impeach then U.S. President Bill Clinton. The impeachment attempts ultimately hurt the GOP much more than they did President Clinton.
Democrats should also remember the many investigations by Congress that have been good for the democracy. Senate hearings in 1923 exposed the corruption that took place during the presidency of Warren Harding in what is known as the Teapot Scandal. In 1966, Senator William Fulbright conducted hearings that provided Americans with information regarding the negative aspects of the Vietnam War. And of course, we all remember the Watergate hearing of 1973.
Many Americans demonstrated their displeasure with the current administration of President Trump. Now the nation is hoping that a divided government will put the brakes on a presidency that has run unchecked for two years.
The responsibility is now on House Democrats to push deeper into White House affairs. They should also learn from past mistakes by politicians who allowed investigations to backfire on them. They should remember that healthy investigations in the past took place while the legislative progress continued in other areas.
One thing is for certain, America needs Congress to provide the oversight that has kept the nation intact since its inception.