Im­pli­ca­tions over­seas

A Demo­cratic House could probe Trump busi­ness ties abroad

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - OPINION - TIM SULLIVAN and ANGELA CHARLTON

PARIS — U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Rus­sian busi­ness ties and Jared Kush­ner’s re­la­tion­ship with the Saudi crown prince could come un­der new scru­tiny by the Democrats when they take over the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

While Trump re­tains broad power over na­tional se­cu­rity and U.S. for­eign pol­icy, the midterm elec­tion re­sult ex­poses him to con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions that could re­ver­ber­ate be­yond Amer­i­can bor­ders.

Now that they have taken con­trol of the House from the Repub­li­cans, Demo­cratic lead­ers of many com­mit­tees will have sub­poena pow­ers en­ablingthem to ob­tain doc­u­ments, email and tes­ti­mony.

If the White House doesn’t block such re­quests in court, they could shed light on Trump’s in­ter­na­tional busi­ness em­pire — and what role it’s play­ing in U.S. re­la­tions with the world.

Here’s a look at what the elec­tion re­sult might mean over­seas:

Trump and Rus­sia

For Moscow, the Demo­cratic vic­tory means a prob­a­ble re­open­ing of the House in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 U.S. elec­tion.

The Repub­li­can-led In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee closed its probe into Rus­sian med­dling, say­ing it had found no ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion. Democrats ar­gue that the Repub­li­cans ig­nored many key facts and wit­nesses.

A con­gres­sional probe would be more pub­lic than spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s cur­rent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence — and wouldn’ t run the risk of be­ing shut­down byTrump.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin de­nies any in­volve­ment in Trump’ s elec­tion­vic­tory, and the Krem­lin sh rugged off con­cerns that a Demo­cratic con­trolled House would in­crease pres­sure on Rus­sia.

“It’d be hard to make( the re­la­tion­ship)even worse ,” Krem­lin spokesman D mi tryPeskov said Wed­nes­day.

A re­newed in­ves­ti­ga­tion could serve Krem­lin in­ter­ests by deep­en­ing di­vi­sion in Amer­ica’ s po­lit­i­cal arena. What Put in would not favour would be in­ves­ti­ga­tions or sanc­tions that would fur­ther dam­age the well-con­nected Rus­sian oli­garchs be­lieved to have links to Trump, or to have helped fund U.S. med­dling ef­forts.

Repub­li­cans warn that more in­ves­ti­ga­tions could blow back against the Democrats for the 2020 U.S. elec­tion.

Pres­sure on the Saudis

Then there’s Saudi Ara­bia, and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kush­ner. The ties be­tween the two men, who are said to com­mu­ni­cate fre­quently, could come un­der in­creased scru­tiny by Democrats.

The U.S. and Saudi Ara­bia have long been key al­lies, and Trump made the coun­try his first stop abroad as pres­i­dent.

But the crown prince has lost sup­port­ers in Congress since the Oct .2 killing of Saudi writer J am alKhashoggi,a Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist and a critic of the crown prince, in­side the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul. The slay­ing was al­legedly car­ried out by agents close to the prince.

Democrats could try to block ma­jor armssalesto Saudi Ara­bia and cur­tail U.S. sup­port for Saudi Ara­bia’s war in Ye­men, which the prince launched as de­fence min­is­ter in 2015. The con­flict has be­come widely un­pop­u­lar with some mem­bers of Congress, and aid agen­cies say it has cre­ated the world’s largest hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe, with mil­lions fac­ing star­va­tion amid a Saudi block­ade of the Arab world’s poor­est coun­try.

The U.S. as­sists the Saudi-led coali­tion with in-air re­fu­elling and in­tel­li­gence on tar­gets, and sup­plies the king­dom with fighter jet sand bombs used in the war.

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