Asking then FBI director James Comey to flat-out drop the investigation might be the most obvious attempt by Donald Trump to obstruct the Trump–Russia investigation. But it’s far from the only move he’s made to block the truth from coming out.
The White House is telling federal agencies to blow off Democratic lawmakers' oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be weaponized against President Donald Trump.
At meetings with top officials for various government departments this spring, Uttam Dhillon, a White House lawyer, told agencies not to cooperate with such requests from Democrats, according to Republican sources inside and outside the administration.
In another example of how institutions won’t save you from encroaching autocracy, it took just that much for the oversight authority of Congress to be surrendered. And this usurpation of Congress’s traditional role passed with barely a whisper.
The declaration amounts to a new level of partisanship in Washington, where the president and his administration already feels besieged by media reports and attacks from Democrats. The idea, Republicans said, is to choke off the Democratic congressional minorities from gaining new information that could be used to attack the president.
With Devin Nunes already breaking his recusal and House rules to keep the investigation on that side of Capitol Hill firmly in the ditch, Republicans are now cooperating with Trump to simply smother the investigation in the Senate. And Trump–Russia is far from the only investigation this order from Trump kills. This is simply omnipotence by decree.
Just because it’s the end of oversight doesn’t mean that the Trump regime can’t have a laugh while they’re destroying the balance between branches of government.
A White House spokeswoman said the policy of the administration is “to accommodate the requests of chairmen, regardless of their political party.” There are no Democratic chairmen, as Congress is controlled by Republicans.
Ordering the agencies to ignore requests from Democrats puts the whole weight of the investigation—such as it is—on Republicans’ willingness to displease Trump. In other words, it means there can be no real investigation.
And this order goes far beyond how it affects Trump–Russia. It destroys Congress’s oversight ability on simply the day to day activities of agencies. What could be going on at the Trump EPA or Trump IRS? Anything. Because even if someone asks to see the books, they’re not going to show them.