Back on November 30, 2016, in the aftermath of the last election, this site featured the blog “Conservatives’ ‘Protection Racket’ “. Briefly, this piece provided examples of how Congressional republicans were “circling the wagons” around the coming Trump presidency in an effort to protect him from damaging information that would undercut him before he even entered the White House. This M.O. was adopted to insure that conservatives could keep in the Oval Office, a man who would be a rubber stamp for all the regressive legislation they intended to pass.
This reliable pattern, established three months ago, remains in place. Thus, the purpose of the present blog is to bring you up-to-date on the latest efforts by the same Congressional Republicans to keep the aforementioned “rubber stamp” in place, and to identify the principal culprits
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
As a senator, Sessions was an early and vigorous supporter of Trump. As the candidate’s campaign took shape, Sessions was named as Chair of its National Security Advisory Committee. With the election over, Sessions then segued into being confirmed as the new administration’s Attorney General; in effect, the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
During his confirmation hearings, Sessions was asked if he would recuse himself in the event that the president or some member of his administration had to be investigated for criminal behavior. This query is hardly out of line given the new AG’s history. Yet, Sessions demurred, a position he has maintained in spite of the now ongoing FBI investigation into the behavior of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. In effect, Sessions wants to keep himself in the best position to protect not just Flynn, but the Trump presidency and the president himself.
Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Early this month, Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, found in the tax code (1), a provision that would allow Congress to secure from the IRS, the tax returns of any citizen and make that information public if it was in the general interest to do so. Pascrell proposed just such a course of action. However, it was killed, on a strict party line vote, 23 – 15. Committee Chair, Kevin Brady justified this vote claiming that it opened the door to Congress poking into the returns of any citizen and airing same. What Brady failed to explain is what interest the public would have in the tax return of some ordinary citizen., as compared to say, Donald Trump.
Devin Nunes (R- CA)
This gentleman is the Chair of the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. That body may well become deeply involved in investigating Michael Flynn, a possibility that is now being openly discussed. Asked if he would call Flynn as a witness, Nunes allowed that he would not inasmuch as Flynn could claim “executive privilege” as a means of avoiding testifying. So, what would be the point of calling him to testify.
The problem here for Nunes is that executive privilege will cover Flynn only after he had been sworn into office. All potentially relevant conversations Flynn had prior to that event would not be covered. This is important because the questionable phone chat that Flynn had with Russia’s Foreign Minister occurred before Flynn assumed office. This has all left Nunes looking for some other means of protecting Flynn and by implication, the Trump administration.
Jason Chaffetz (R -UT)
Chaffetz is the Chair of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee., another body that could reasonably dig into Flynn’s recent behavior. Asked about this, Chaffetz asserted that there wouldn’t be a need to do that because Flynn had resigned . That supposedly brought this matter to a close, at least in Chaffetz’ mind; in essence, there’s nothing here folks so let’s move on.
The three aforementioned Republicans and the cohorts who are complicit with them in this protection racket are fighting a rear guard action. This matter isn’t going to go away because the news media, Congressional Democrats, and a large swath of the general public won’t let that happen. We may have already entered into what is proving to be a slow and relatively steady stream of disclosures that will raise damning questions about Flynn, Trump and his administration. This will play itself out over the next many months at which point we will be able to conclude that this has either been much to do about nothing, or a major scandal that will bring down the Trump presidency.
Stay tuned and stay engaged !!!
- Section 6103 of the IRS Tax Code.