Fear is the main motivating principle for most of the Democratic Party. Many of our Democratic elected officials are fearful of being smeared by Republicans, the mainstream media, and anyone else with a large platform, and this directly informs their entire political calculus. They react. They do not plan ahead.
The main reason why there is so much hope and optimism in the Democratic Party post-2016 is the rejection of this fear for an embrace of a bold policy vision that dramatically articulates our principles—reinforced by the fact that supposed “centrist” presidential candidates like Kamala Harris are backing socialized medicine and the most ambitious policy ever devised to save the world from climate change. Things are undoubtedly getting better in the Democratic Party.
But as this Ilhan Omar debacle has demonstrated, the old guard of the Democratic Party is still putzing around Capitol Hill, caving to almost any bad faith argument thrown at them, for fear of coming off as “divisive.” The tension between new and old could not be better highlighted by the fact that while Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer instantly rebuked Ilhan Omar for comments interpreted in bad faith, support for Omar coming from three of the top four presidential contenders (as of right now) pushed Pelosi and Hoyer’s specific condemnation of Omar’s supposed anti-Semitism (as a Jew, I call BS on that notion) into a boilerplate repudiation of “hate” that could not be more pointless. No matter the arena or the opponent, the old guard of the Democratic Party will always cave to pressure. Always (remember this, my fellow progressive allies).
Which brings us to a new report detailing how Democrats are afraid of going after Trump’s crime family. Per Politico:
House Democrats have already gone to war with President Donald Trump. But there’s one target they’re skittish of hitting too hard: his children.
In public and private, Democrats see potential pitfalls in dragging Trump’s adult children into their political squabbles with the president. So even as they ramp up their investigations into Trump, senior Democrats are reluctant to scrutinize Trump’s adult children too much as part of their sprawling probes into Trump’s administration, campaign and business empire.
“Getting to family members I think is dangerous,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a senior member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. “Only because it gets real personal, real fast. And it risks backfiring.
“Maybe at some point we have to call them in,” Connolly added, “but I’d rather let prosecutors look at that.”
I have a question for Democrats like Gerry Connolly: are two of the three people currently controlling the transparently criminal Trump Organization eligible to be investigated?
If the answer is no, then the Democrats are incompetent and those making that case should be removed from power as they have proven they do not possess the knowledge required to properly wield that power. If the answer is yes, THEN WE’RE TALKING ABOUT TWO OF TRUMP’S CHILDREN!!
Apologies for the all-caps, but this really grinds my gears. I understand the political pitfalls of overreaching, and there is certainly a point where Democratic investigations would become counterproductive, but the Democrats simply do not have a choice to look the other way on this stuff. Per Article I Section 8 Clause 18 of the United States constitution describing congressional powers (emphasis mine):
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Like Trump’s indirect direction to Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, the constitution does not directly state that Congress must oversee the executive. Article I simply establishes an immense amount of power for Congress in areas that overlap with the executive, and then the “necessary and proper” clause widens those powers even more through the definition of those words, and that clause forms the bedrock of Congress’s oversight mandate.
It is necessary for the legislative branch to investigate a criminal enterprise being run by the head of the executive branch (or his children). This is not up for debate. If the House Democrats do not investigate Eric and Don Jr.’s stewardship of the Trump Organization while Donald Trump clearly continues to profit off of it, then they are willingly abdicating their constitutionally mandated requirements.
It’s not even like the Trump kids committing crimes is some far-off notion. Don Jr. released e-mails saying he “loves” an offer from “the Russian government” to get “dirt” on a former Secretary of State. According to one of the most plugged-in reporters in the Fox News universe, both Donald Trump’s think that Don Jr. is going to get indicted. Today we learned that Jared Kushner shut out United States embassy staffers from meetings with the Saudi ruling family in Riyadh. Ivanka Trump nearly got indicted in 2012. In 2015, Trump Taj Mahal paid what was at the time, the largest fine ever to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the Department of the Treasury ($10 million) admitting to “long standing anti-money laundering violations.” The worst kept secret in America is that Don Jr. almost certainly lied to Congress, and Rep. Jackie Spier (D-CA) on the House Intelligence Committee even told CNN that “I think there’s at least two occasions where he lied to the committee.”
Democrats do not need to launch investigations to accuse Trump’s kids of crimes—they simply need to investigate crimes/potential crimes that are just sitting out in the open.
This is pathetic. The old guard of the Democratic Party is allergic to power, and the moment they have it, they try to find any excuse not to use it. We are facing major, major systemic problems that are being exacerbated by a criminal family running the executive branch. If the legislative branch refuses to follow its constitutional mandate to conduct oversight, then those controlling the legislative branch are abdicating their constitutional duty while de facto allying themselves with the criminals atop the executive branch.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.