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The Democratic House Oversight Committee will play into Trump hands (1 Viewer)

timschochet

Footballguy
I’m hearing on the news this morning that the upcoming House Oversight Committee, controlled by Democrats, is planning to conduct hearings about every aspect of Trump’s activities- even as we speak, hundreds of subpoenas are being issued, hearings, the whole works. 

This IMO is a huge mistake. There is already the Mueller investigation and the SDNY. This committee will be seen by the public, correctly, as a political attack. It will create sympathy for Trump. The actual  issues will be confusing to most people and they will quickly tune this stuff out. And they will be frustrated that real stuff that affects their lives is, in their view, being ignored. 

I know that Pelosi, based on her interviews, isn’t too excited about this. I suspect she has only so much control over the base. 

 

Kumerica

Footballguy
They can't actually issue subpoenas until they're in control.  I'm not sure that the HOC plans on conducting hearing on every aspect of his life, as that would be monumentally stupid. I think people are confused because Trump/Russia, Trump the business entity, Trump's foundation, Trump's Inauguration Committee, Trump/Saudis, etc. are all, as of Friday, under individual official investigations, so a lot of the talk over the weekend has been about that. 

And I agree, this would be a huge mistake, and one I doubt the HOC will make. From the Sunday show pundits and reps, it sounds like they'll let the official investigations go where they must, but likely reopen the bull$#it investigations the Republicans did last year and bring back the closed-door witnesses, etc.

 
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TobiasFunke

Footballguy
I’m hearing on the news this morning that the upcoming House Oversight Committee, controlled by Democrats, is planning to conduct hearings about every aspect of Trump’s activities- even as we speak, hundreds of subpoenas are being issued, hearings, the whole works. 

This IMO is a huge mistake. There is already the Mueller investigation and the SDNY. This committee will be seen by the public, correctly, as a political attack. It will create sympathy for Trump. The actual  issues will be confusing to most people and they will quickly tune this stuff out. And they will be frustrated that real stuff that affects their lives is, in their view, being ignored. 

I know that Pelosi, based on her interviews, isn’t too excited about this. I suspect she has only so much control over the base. 
Just to be clear here- is your argument that the Oversight Committee should not exist?  Or that except for the matters covered by Mueller and the SDNY, the Trump administration has managed the business of the executive branch of the federal government efficiently and effectively and without conflicts of interest?

Because if you think they public correctly would see oversight investigations as a political attack it almost certainly has to be one of the two.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Just to be clear here- is your argument that the Oversight Committee should not exist?  Or that except for the matters covered by Mueller and the SDNY, the Trump administration has managed the business of the executive branch of the federal government efficiently and effectively and without conflicts of interest?

Because if you think they public correctly would see oversight investigations as a political attack it almost certainly has to be one of the two.
No of course not. 

But they can do their jobs without overdoing it. Perception is everything. I think most people know at this point that Trump is corrupt and a liar. If he’s going to be impeached it will because of the Mueller report; the rest of these investigations are IMO therefore pretty superfluous. They’re show, and what the public wants is for stuff to get done like infrastructure and healthcare. 

 
No of course not. 

But they can do their jobs without overdoing it. Perception is everything. I think most people know at this point that Trump is corrupt and a liar. If he’s going to be impeached it will because of the Mueller report; the rest of these investigations are IMO therefore pretty superfluous. They’re show, and what the public wants is for stuff to get done like infrastructure and healthcare. 
I'm the public and I want them to investiate the crap outta him.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Another Tim post encouraging us all to clutch our pearls
If this means listen to Pelosi and stifle the partisans then yeah. 

Look, one of my flaws is that I read way too much history and this is looking more and more like the early 70s. Nixon was wildly umpopular and the GOP got nearly wiped out in 1970. Then the left went crazy, fighting him at every turn, sanctioning protest marches against the war (some of which turned violent), nominating a passionate socialist to run for President in 1972. Nixon rebounded and won in landslide. This is the sort of thing I would like to avoid seeing repeated. 

 

squistion

Footballguy
Tim, they would be derelict in their duties if they didn't look into all these matters. How would they face their constituents when asked, Why as a member of House Oversight Committee didn't you look into irregularities with all the Trump's activities?

And they have to do it now because if the GOP takes back control of the House into 2020 you can assured that there will be no investigations at all, similar to what have seen in Trump's first two years in office.

Yes, it may turnoff people and garner some sympathy for Trump. In the alternative it may be the tipping point where the American public reaches a saturation point with the scandal de jour and his approval rating is favorable only his hardcore base. I saw Doris Kearns Goodwin on MSNBC last week and she said what finally brought down Joseph McCarthy in the 50s was that people reached a saturation point from his constant accusations of Communists in the government and public sentiment turned against him.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Yes, it may turnoff people and garner some sympathy for Trump. In the alternative it may be the tipping point where the American public reaches a saturation point with the scandal de jour and his approval rating is favorable only his hardcore base. I saw Doris Kearns Goodwin on MSNBC last week and she said what finally brought down Joseph McCarthy in the 50s was that people reached a saturation point from his constant accusations of Communists in the government and public sentiment turned against him.
But in the case of McCarthy it was he who initiated the hearing: specificallu the Army- McCarthy hearing that was his downfall. 

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
But in the case of McCarthy it was he who initiated the hearing: specificallu the Army- McCarthy hearing that was his downfall. 
What brought down McCarthy was imaginary lists of conspirators and his getting turned inside out at a public hearing. Closest thing to that I’ve heard was Nunes who claimed he had a list of secret 40 Trump haters at State and the IC. He’s hit the end of that road thankfully.

 
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squistion

Footballguy
But in the case of McCarthy it was he who initiated the hearing: specificallu the Army- McCarthy hearing that was his downfall. 
I don't think it really matters what sets the wheels in motion for the public to finally say they have had enough, as they did with McCarthy.  

All of Trump's actions, the irregularities of his companies and in his administration will be what initiates these new investigations and will be his chickens coming home to roost (so to speak). I think the public would have grown tired of McCarthy and he would have faded without the AM hearings, they just accelerated the process (showing the man behind the curtain).

 

TobiasFunke

Footballguy
No of course not. 

But they can do their jobs without overdoing it. Perception is everything. I think most people know at this point that Trump is corrupt and a liar. If he’s going to be impeached it will because of the Mueller report; the rest of these investigations are IMO therefore pretty superfluous. They’re show, and what the public wants is for stuff to get done like infrastructure and healthcare. 
I kind of think oversight is everything.  It's right there in the name and everything.

The bolded again suggests that the Committee has no legitimate purpose other than seeking indictment/impeachment. Just because Gowdy, Chaffetz and Issa turned it into the "Clinton email BENGHAZI!!!!" Committee doesn't mean crap like that is all it ever was or will be.

Also I see no reason to think it will backfire on the Dems. I can't think of a single instance of opposition parties digging too much backfiring on the party.  Certainly if it was ever gonna happen it would have been with Clinton, and that ended with the GOP putting the clearly less qualified candidate in the White House for 8 years and very little movement in congressional balance of power.

 
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cosjobs

Footballguy
“The voice that Adam gives to these issues is one that is calming, logical, linear, measured but forceful,” Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader and likely the new Speaker of the House, told me. “I have complete confidence in him to be very strategic in how he returns the Intelligence Committee to a bipartisan arena, without doing what Devin Nunes did as chairman of the committee, which I thought bordered on the criminal.” 

 

timschochet

Footballguy
“The voice that Adam gives to these issues is one that is calming, logical, linear, measured but forceful,” Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader and likely the new Speaker of the House, told me. “I have complete confidence in him to be very strategic in how he returns the Intelligence Committee to a bipartisan arena, without doing what Devin Nunes did as chairman of the committee, which I thought bordered on the criminal.” 
I love Schiff. He'll be fine.

But that's the intelligence Committee. Its the Oversight Committee, run by Elijah Cummings, and the Judicial Committee, run by Jerry Nadler, that bother me more. And most of all, Maxine Waters who will head the Financial Services Committee.

These are very partisan Democrats. Both Nadler and Waters have often spoken about impeachment and Cummings isn't too far behind. We'll see if Pelosi can rein them in a little. 

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
What's also funny about the McCarthy comp - imagine if McCarthy had determined that Truman's chief foreign policy adviser was being paid by the Russians, the Chicoms or the Pan-Arabists. Like actual proof of that. Whooboyy.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
I love Schiff. He'll be fine.

But that's the intelligence Committee. Its the Oversight Committee, run by Elijah Cummings, and the Judicial Committee, run by Jerry Nadler, that bother me more. And most of all, Maxine Waters who will head the Financial Services Committee.

These are very partisan Democrats. Both Nadler and Waters have often spoken about impeachment and Cummings isn't too far behind. We'll see if Pelosi can rein them in a little. 
Nadler and Waters and Cummings may be partisans, but it's not because they've spoken about impeachment. Lots of Republicans (of the David Frum variety) have spoken of impeachment as well.

 

Insomniac

Footballguy
IMO Trump, members of his family, and members of his administration have earned extreme scrutiny. It might be the most blatantly self-dealing, corrupt administration since the Teapot Dome scandal. There's a lot of legitimate areas to investigate  thoroughly. If it hurts Trump and the GOP politically that's a bonus.

I strongly doubt public hearings generate any sympathy for Trump outside of the people already part of the GOP base. He won't even get much from them if there's a recession. How many worthless Benghazi hearings did the GOP congress hold? I can't remember them generating any sympathy for the Democrats. The hearings probably helped the GOP raise money but there doesn't seem to be any evidence that it had any effect on the votes of partisans on either side and most of the less engaged voters didn't pay that much attention.

 

stlrams

Footballguy
I agree with Tim that American public for the most part will grow tire of the non-stop  investigations/attacks.  Let mueller take the lead and see where it goes. 

 

Gr00vus

Footballguy
If this means listen to Pelosi and stifle the partisans then yeah. 

Look, one of my flaws is that I read way too much history and this is looking more and more like the early 70s. Nixon was wildly umpopular and the GOP got nearly wiped out in 1970. Then the left went crazy, fighting him at every turn, sanctioning protest marches against the war (some of which turned violent), nominating a passionate socialist to run for President in 1972. Nixon rebounded and won in landslide. This is the sort of thing I would like to avoid seeing repeated. 
The problem, and distinction, is that Nixon may have been a crook, but he was a pretty competent and effective official. The Trump administration is nearly without structure and direction, having little to no ability to actually govern. It needs the oversight badly. It's not just the criminal behavior that's hurting the country (and the world), it's the rank incompetence.

 

BigJim®

Footballguy
It would be a mistake for democrats to do anything that dilutes the real stories. The various federal proceedings/investigations, and special counsel investigation have nothing to do with political pestering. So much water being carried for them, they could do nothing and wait for it to rain political nectar. Dems don't seem able to resist grave dancing, though. They should honestly avoid saying 'impeachment' publically until the full report is issued. You'd think they'd be more savvy about avoiding that narrative.

 
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Snorkelson

Footballguy
I think this administration goes above and beyond what the usual politicians grift, but the cooruption in business and politics is rampant. I think people are beginning to see this because in this day it’s virtually impossible to do something without there being some sort of record of it, and information can be shared immediately worldwide. The shady stuff millionaires do is coming to light more and more, whether it’s pay to play or Epstein type offenses. Continuing to ignore this stuff because “it would harm the office” is bs.

 

zftcg

Footballguy
Tim, I generally find you one of the smarter contributors to this forum, but I think you're way off base here. I don't want the HOC investigating Trump in order to find grounds for impeachment. I want them investigating to figure out what the hell is going on in the administration that we don't know about. Have you heard about Michael Lewis' book The Fifth Risk? He spent a year talking to people at different Federal agencies, and the overall conclusion was that things are way worse than we even realize, and any one of these poorly run agencies could explode into a genuine crisis at any time (in the case of the Department of Energy, we're talking literal explosions).

So yeah, I want the House investigating that. I want some accountability for the government's shameful response to Hurricane Maria. And yes, I want them investigating whether Trump and Kushner's shady business dealings are skewing our foreign policy. (OK, maybe that last one is a different committee. But you get the idea.)

Congress learned its lesson about interfering too much in special counsel investigations when Ollie North got off because the immunity he was granted to testify tainted the legal case against him. I trust them not to directly compete with Mueller's investigation (he has a two-year head start on them anyway). But there is a lot that they not only can and should do, but I would argue are obligated to do, to find out how bad things are before a lot of damage is done and a lot of people get killed.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
zftcg, I do get your point and others here who disagree with me. I worry too much as always, and I’m not sure I’m right. 

But I have to say that I am very skeptical that congressional investigations are ever successful at revealing anything. There is always so much political crap. For me the film Quiz Show epitomized in my own mind the uselessness and absurdity of these sorts of hearings. In my lifetime, most of our revelations come from journalists and not from these investigations. 

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
zftcg, I do get your point and others here who disagree with me. I worry too much as always, and I’m not sure I’m right. 

But I have to say that I am very skeptical that congressional investigations are ever successful at revealing anything. There is always so much political crap. For me the film Quiz Show epitomized in my own mind the uselessness and absurdity of these sorts of hearings. In my lifetime, most of our revelations come from journalists and not from these investigations. 
The Watergate hearings are a notable exception. 

And the Dem HIC report and the Senate intel joint report on Russian meddling were useful.

 

zftcg

Footballguy
zftcg, I do get your point and others here who disagree with me. I worry too much as always, and I’m not sure I’m right. 

But I have to say that I am very skeptical that congressional investigations are ever successful at revealing anything. There is always so much political crap. For me the film Quiz Show epitomized in my own mind the uselessness and absurdity of these sorts of hearings. In my lifetime, most of our revelations come from journalists and not from these investigations. 
Maybe the issue comes down to incompetence/negligence vs. corruption. Yes, there are corruption issues the House should investigate. But I don't think we've ever had an administration that was so poorly staffed and ideologically blinkered and uninterested in governing, combined with two years of minimal oversight. 

I strongly suspect we will find stuff out in the next year that will be genuinely shocking even to those of us who assume the worst about this administration. (I also suspect those revelations will be damaging to Trump politically, but I don't think that's the most important reason for investigating.)

Let's turn this around: What would you like to see House Democrats do?

 

Sabertooth

Footballguy
I’m hearing on the news this morning that the upcoming House Oversight Committee, controlled by Democrats, is planning to conduct hearings about every aspect of Trump’s activities- even as we speak, hundreds of subpoenas are being issued, hearings, the whole works. 

This IMO is a huge mistake. There is already the Mueller investigation and the SDNY. This committee will be seen by the public, correctly, as a political attack. It will create sympathy for Trump. The actual  issues will be confusing to most people and they will quickly tune this stuff out. And they will be frustrated that real stuff that affects their lives is, in their view, being ignored. 

I know that Pelosi, based on her interviews, isn’t too excited about this. I suspect she has only so much control over the base. 
Just because something is seen as a political attack, doesn't necessarily mean it's not a legit investigation.  I mean, Hillary royally screwed up on Benghazi.  She just did.  Was it criminal and partisan (the investigation)?  Sure.  Doesn't mean it wasn't the right thing to do though.  

That said, I'd wait until after Mueller.  Because if he skates through Mueller, then you come at him with the next thing, and the next, and the next.  Battle of attrition.  I hope he doesn't get a single night's good sleep in the Whitehouse.  

 

Skoo

Footballguy
Hey, it's not their fault the GOP took the last 2 years off.

There's a lot of work to be done.

I really don't see how letting Trump off the hook is a good thing for Democrats. I don't think the investigations will give Trump sympathy, I think they'll reveal to people just how much of a criminal he is. We're already on that path IMO with all the recent news.

 

Sabertooth

Footballguy
It kind of is.  They lost the election to a clown.  Hillary was just a bad choice that was telegraphed for 6 years. 

 

joffer

Footballguy
Tim, I generally find you one of the smarter contributors to this forum, but I think you're way off base here. I don't want the HOC investigating Trump in order to find grounds for impeachment. I want them investigating to figure out what the hell is going on in the administration that we don't know about. Have you heard about Michael Lewis' book The Fifth Risk? He spent a year talking to people at different Federal agencies, and the overall conclusion was that things are way worse than we even realize, and any one of these poorly run agencies could explode into a genuine crisis at any time (in the case of the Department of Energy, we're talking literal explosions).

So yeah, I want the House investigating that. I want some accountability for the government's shameful response to Hurricane Maria. And yes, I want them investigating whether Trump and Kushner's shady business dealings are skewing our foreign policy. (OK, maybe that last one is a different committee. But you get the idea.)

Congress learned its lesson about interfering too much in special counsel investigations when Ollie North got off because the immunity he was granted to testify tainted the legal case against him. I trust them not to directly compete with Mueller's investigation (he has a two-year head start on them anyway). But there is a lot that they not only can and should do, but I would argue are obligated to do, to find out how bad things are before a lot of damage is done and a lot of people get killed.
he was just on Preet Bhara's podcast.  I may check that book out.

 

BigJim®

Footballguy
I really don't see how letting Trump off the hook is a good thing for Democrats.
It's not about letting Trump off the hook IMHO. It is whether a zillion overeager pestering investigations will be spun to support the political witch hunt defense, and drown out actual revelations being concluded by non-Democratic entities (federal trials, special counsel report). There's no political upside, and I don't trust the democratic ability to avoid narrative traps. They are biased, obviously.

 

zftcg

Footballguy
It's not about letting Trump off the hook IMHO. It is whether a zillion overeager pestering investigations will be spun to support the political witch hunt defense, and drown out actual revelations being concluded by non-Democratic entities (federal trials, special counsel report). There's no political upside, and I don't trust the democratic ability to avoid narrative traps. They are biased, obviously.
Leaving aside for a moment the corruption vs. incompetence dichotomy I laid out earlier, I don't think we should assume the "non-Democratic entities" will automatically save us. Mueller is constrained by his job description and could theoretically be fired at any time. The courts (where the emoluments and Trump Foundation cases are currently being fought) are always in danger of being overturned by the conservative-stocked judiciary, up to and including the Supreme Court.

You're right that Dems definitely need to be careful that they don't get outspun and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But I also don't think we have to be so scared/suspicious of being "political". Ultimately, Trump will need to be defeated either via election or impeachment/removal, and both of those processes are intensely political. I get the temptation to retreat to the safer ground of non-partisan mechanisms, but it's just putting off the inevitable. If Dems aren't prepared to wage a political fight against Trump, they're going to lose regardless of their strategy. If Mueller finds serious wrongdoing, that will certainly help our cause, but in the end, as a great man once said, we are the ones we've been waiting for.

 

Skoo

Footballguy
The GOP spent YEARS on Benghazi investigations that resulted in a whopping ZERO indictments.

The GOP also refused to even hold a hearing for Merrick Garland, completely for political reasons.

The American people were so outraged about all of this that they handed them the Presidency.

 

BigJim®

Footballguy
Leaving aside for a moment the corruption vs. incompetence dichotomy I laid out earlier, I don't think we should assume the "non-Democratic entities" will automatically save us.
Just a comment on this... I'm not really talking about 'saving us.' I don't look at the topic in those terms and it is the type of hyperbole that gets re-spun as bias. Your second paragraph is more to the heart of it, that caution should be urged until they see the report. If it does not stand on its own, by all means pursue legitimate investigations that should be pursued under oversight function. But don't launch a hundred investigations in a 'throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks' fashion - just the few that really matter. Bottom line for me is I've seen people with slam dunk righteous stances undermine their own position by including too many add on arguments, including debatable weak ones. As you mention, its a good way to steal defeat from the jaws of victory. I think it also undermines perception of the Democratic party as a whole when they have such high ground currently.  

 

Da Guru

Fair & Balanced
I’m hearing on the news this morning that the upcoming House Oversight Committee, controlled by Democrats, is planning to conduct hearings about every aspect of Trump’s activities- even as we speak, hundreds of subpoenas are being issued, hearings, the whole works. 

This IMO is a huge mistake. There is already the Mueller investigation and the SDNY. This committee will be seen by the public, correctly, as a political attack. It will create sympathy for Trump. The actual  issues will be confusing to most people and they will quickly tune this stuff out. And they will be frustrated that real stuff that affects their lives is, in their view, being ignored. 

I know that Pelosi, based on her interviews, isn’t too excited about this. I suspect she has only so much control over the base. 
The election is in the bag if they don`t overplay their hand.

 

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