(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Democrats aren't powerless against Republican efforts to block Russia probe

"It’s in both the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ interests to . . write a report based on a common set of facts"


Charlie May
January 2, 2018 6:55PM (UTC)

Republican lawmakers have sought to politicize and undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government for the past year. But some Democrats are looking for ways to get out in front of GOP impediments, which may include them releasing their own minority report to highlight any forms of obstruction.

"It’s in both the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ interests to . . . write a report based on a common set of facts," Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, the No. 2 Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee told the Washington Post.

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Himes added, "It would be a tragedy if the report has a minority section that says, 'Look, we wanted to talk to these two dozen witnesses and weren't able to do so.'"

The minority report — if concocted — would consist of ways in which GOP lawmakers have impeded, or otherwise sought to slow the ongoing probe, Himes told the Post, even if it weren't a route the Democrats would prefer to go down.

"If the investigation gets wound up too quickly, the minority report would be largely about outstanding questions that were never examined," Himes explained.

The Post elaborated:

To be clear, this really might not happen: It’s possible Republicans will allow the inquiry to unfold, and/or that the full truth is not that damning to Trump and his associates. There might not be any coverup. Indeed, Republicans have protested that the Democratic requests for additional testimony are frivolous. But as Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes point out, we can empirically evaluate whether Republicans are — or aren’t — making a good-faith effort to interview all the witnesses necessary to establish the full truth about Russian interference and possible conspiracy with it. So far, there is reason for concern that they aren’t.

Despite the recusal of Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a devout Trump loyalist, he "never relinquished his sole, unchecked authority." Nunes still holds the power to unilaterally decide if a subpoena should be issued or not, the Post reported. Himes said that several efforts by Democrats were left not acted upon, but he would not indicate whether Nunes had been directly responsible for that.

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Nunes is, however, leading the charge of House Republicans against the Justice Department and FBI because they believe that the infamous Russia dossier, put together by former spy Christopher Steele, was mishandled, as Salon previously reported. The move is not only a dangerous precedent, but it undoubtedly undercuts the Mueller investigation and establishes a staunch partisan divide. Instead of allowing Mueller and his team to reach a conclusion based on putting forth all available facts, for the public good, — whether damning of the president or not — GOP impediments will only force a manufactured narrative.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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