The Republicans’ ardor for investigations and oversight, on display throughout the Obama administration, has cooled off considerably with Donald Trump in the White House.
Each day seems to bring a new headache or near-crisis from Trump, the latest being the departure of his national security adviser under questionable circumstances involving Russia.
Yet if there is a line too far, at which point Republicans will feel duty-bound to call for an independent investigation of their president or his administration, Trump hasn’t crossed it yet.
Democrats are clamoring for a full-scale probe of the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, including demanding to know what Trump knew, and when, about Flynn’s pre-inauguration conversations with a Russian ambassador about U.S. sanctions. White House press secretary Sean Spicer disclosed that Trump was told in late January that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about those conversations.
Rather than go along with Democrats’ call for an independent outside investigation, Senate Republicans insisted Tuesday that the Intelligence Committee could look at the circumstances as part of an existing probe into Russia’s interference in the presidential election.
“The Intelligence Committee is already looking at Russian involvement in our election and they have broad jurisdiction over the intel community writ large and they can look at whatever they choose to,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., adding that “it’s highly likely they’d want to take a look at this episode as well.”
The intelligence panel’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, told reporters that “aggressive” oversight would continue “privately. We don’t do that in public.”
House Republicans were even less interested, with some shrugging off Democrats’ calls for an investigation entirely. Rep. Devin Nunes of California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that the “real crime” is how Flynn’s phone conversations were leaked, echoing a complaint Trump himself made over