Updated: Jul 2, 2019
As Democrats prepare to address the issues that were ignored by the sham investigation led by Republicans, they are being challenged by President Trump with complaints of “presidential harassment” and claims of executive privilege.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is opening his investigation by crossing the “red line” the administration drew when the Robert S. Mueller Russia probe began. His committee is looking into the finances of the Trump Organization and how Trump's family used their connections to allow access to foreign donors.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York also are investigating Trump’s inaugural committee and the foreign governments that made huge donations to gain the favor of the incoming administration.
These are the reasons Trump has gone on a rampage, claiming “presidential harassment”. Since when was this a thing? When was the system of checks-and-balances that was put in place by our Founding Fathers turned into this farce? It was when an actual investigation was launched by members of Congress to rein in the illegal activities of this administration.
Meanwhile, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, in a House Judiciary Committee hearing today, said he would claim executive privilege regarding his conversations with Trump. However, he told the Committee he had not had conversations with Trump regarding the Mueller probe, which he said he had not interfered with in any way. He also denied having such conversations with Trump's White House legal team. The Committee held the hearing to explore Whitaker's role in directing that investigation.
If Trump is allowed to hide behind his "presidential harassment" and executive privilege covers, we have abandoned the three branches of government that serve as the foundation of our democracy. The claim of executive privilege is absurd and was repeatedly struck down by the Supreme Court during the Nixon and Clinton administrations.
I’m certain that Trump is placing his faith in the Supreme Court deciding in his favor whatever case might be brought against him, since he appointed two of the justices and expects them to remain loyal to him rather than the rule of law.
Despite this, by making claims of executive privilege the administration is gambling that misdeeds and potential criminal activity will be allowed to remain hidden. Experts, however, do not see this as a winning strategy.
With the executive privilege cover, the administration hopes to avoid facing questions about its involvement in the Mueller investigation and so much more. Instead Democrats, led by Schiff, will continue to probe, question and investigate all the issues that Republicans attempted to sweep under the rug.
CJ Waldron is a retired English teacher from upstate New York. An adjunct instructor at Horry Georgetown Technical College, he lives in Conway, SC with his wife, Donna.