Democrats’ House ma­jor­ity spells trou­ble for Trump...

The New Paper - - NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s life may get a lot tougher now that Democrats have won a ma­jor­ity in the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Us­ing their con­trol of House com­mit­tees, a small group of law­mak­ers can de­mand to see Mr Trump’s long-hid­den tax re­turns, probe pos­si­ble con­flicts of in­ter­est from his busi­ness em­pire, and dig into any ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion be­tween Rus­sia and Mr Trump’s cam­paign team in the 2016 elec­tion.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Eli­jah Cummings, who is ex­pected to take over the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee, has said Repub­li­can law­mak­ers will no longer be able to pro­tect Mr Trump.

“The most im­por­tant thing for the Over­sight Com­mit­tee to do is to get back to reg­u­lar or­der by ob­tain­ing doc­u­ments and in­ter­view­ing wit­nesses, and ac­tu­ally hold­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­count­able to the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Mr Cummings told Reuters.

He plans to ex­am­ine whether Mr Trump’s busi­ness in­ter­ests – in­clud­ing a down­town Wash­ing­ton ho­tel – vi­o­late the emol­u­ments clause of the Con­sti­tu­tion, which makes it il­le­gal for pub­lic of­fi­cials to re­ceive for­eign gifts with­out the con­sent of Congress.

Mr Cummings is also ex­pected to look at ethics scan­dals in­volv­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials and the pol­icy of sep­a­rat­ing im­mi­grant chil­dren from their fam­i­lies along the bor­der with Mex­ico.

He is one of three Democrats who have clashed with Mr Trump and will take over com­mit­tees that will pres­sure his White House when the new Congress takes of­fice in Jan­uary.


The oth­ers are Mr Jer­rold Nadler, who will al­most cer­tainly head the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee and Mr Adam Schiff of the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee.

Con­trol of the com­mit­tees – where they are the high­est-rank­ing Democrats – will give them the power to de­mand doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mony from White House of­fi­cials and key fig­ures in Mr Trump’s cam­paign team and busi­nesses, and to is­sue sub­poe­nas if needed.

They will also have more money and staff for in­ves­ti­ga­tions that could de­lay or de­rail Mr Trump’s agenda.

“(Trump) will deny six ways to Sun­day that any­thing’s go­ing to change, but the re­al­ity is that his world’s turned up­side down,” said Mr Jim Man­ley, a Demo­cratic strate­gist.

A first salvo is ex­pected to come from Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Richard Neal, the likely Demo­cratic chair­man of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee.

He has vowed to de­mand Mr Trump’s tax re­turns from the Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin.

This could spark a cas­cade of probes into dis­clo­sures the doc­u­ments might hold.

Mr Schiff said his com­mit­tee would look at al­le­ga­tions that Rus­sian money may have been laun­dered though Mr Trump’s busi­nesses and that Moscow might have fi­nan­cial lever­age over the pres­i­dent.

Mr Nadler’s panel would deal with any ef­fort to im­peach Mr Trump, de­pend­ing on the out­come of Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller’s probe into Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 US elec­tions and pos­si­ble Trump cam­paign col­lu­sion with Moscow.

The three con­gress­men ex­pect to seek bi­par­ti­san co­op­er­a­tion to avoid the ap­pear­ance of par­ti­san­ship ahead of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.


(From left) Con­gress­men Eli­jah Cummings, Jer­rold Nadler and Adam Schiff.


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