Tur­moil seen in wake of US midterm elec­tions

Manila Bulletin - - Editorial -

DAYS af­ter last Tues­day’s midterm elec­tions, Wash­ing­ton, DC, ap­pears headed for a po­lit­i­cal war as the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, now con­trolled by the op­po­si­tion Democrats, pre­pared to probe sev­eral is­sues in­volv­ing Pres­i­dent Trump who has, in turn, warned of a “war­like pos­ture” if the Democrats in­ves­ti­gate him.

The Democrats won con­trol of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the midterm elec­tions, al­though Trump’s Repub­li­cans re­tained con­trol of the Se­nate, even in­creas­ing their ma­jor­ity in the cham­ber.

In the first two years of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Pres­i­dent had man­aged to fend off ef­forts to look too closely into many is­sues in­volv­ing him and his busi­ness in­ter­ests, as his Repub­li­cans con­trolled both cham­bers of Con­gress. Last Tues­day, how­ever, Democrats took more than 30 seats from the Repub­li­cans, more than the 23 they needed for ma­jor­ity con­trol.

They are now mov­ing – through the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee, the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, and the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee – to de­mand to see Trump’s tax re­turns, which he never re­vealed dur­ing the cam­paign, look into pos­si­ble con­flicts of in­ter­est from his busi­ness in­ter­ests, and into al­leged col­lu­sion be­tween Rus­sia and Trump’s cam­paign team in 2016.

Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller has long been in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­leged Rus­sian med­dling in the elec­tion, a probe which Trump has con­demned as a “witch hunt.” The House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee is now ex­pected to deal with any move to im­peach Trump should Mueller’s probe sup­port charges of Trump cam­paign col­lu­sion with Moscow.

The day af­ter the elec­tion, the US pres­i­dent forced his at­tor­ney gen­eral to re­sign and other res­ig­na­tions are ex­pected. He had a sharp ex­change of words with a White House re­porter who was then banned from the White House. And this was just one day af­ter the elec­tion.

In the next two years, the Repub­li­cans will seek to con­sol­i­date their forces as Pres­i­dent Trump launches his cam­paign for re­elec­tion in 2020. In his first two years in of­fice, he has man­aged to iso­late the US from for­mer close al­lies like Canada and Eu­rope and launch a trade war with China.

The Philip­pines has not been in­volved in any of Pres­i­dent Trump’s dif­fer­ences and dis­putes with many coun­tries but we con­tinue to fol­low de­vel­op­ments in the US very closely as a close ally of the US in Asia and to see what we can pos­si­bly learn from the US elec­tion ex­pe­ri­ence as it ap­plies to po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in our coun­try.

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