going completely off the rails. While Democrats representing California in Congress also must try to improve the lives of Americans on health care, education and more, their most urgent duty is to protect our democracy.
On the day after the election, Trump reacted to the Democratic takeover of the House by firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointing a loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, who will now oversee special counsel Robert Mueller and who, echoing the president, has criticized his investigation.
Mueller’s 18-month probe is in its greatest jeopardy yet. What Trump calls a “witch hunt” has already produced more than 100 charges against 32 people, including 26 Russians. Four of them — all Trump aides — have pleaded guilty, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Mueller’s team is reportedly writing its final report and it is absolutely essential that it be made public. If there was collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign or other wrongdoing by the president or his allies, we hope that Mueller has secured sealed indictments or has other backup plans in case he gets fired, too.
If it’s not too late by the time the new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3, one of Democrats’ first orders of business ought to be to pass the bills protecting Mueller that Republicans have blocked. Republicans in Congress have utterly failed in their constitutional duty to check the president. Some, like Trump stooge Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare, have actively aided and abetted his abuses of power.
With continued Republican control of the U.S. Senate, impeachment is probably off the table. But far stricter oversight of Trump is not.
If Nancy Pelosi regains the speaker’s gavel — and we still say it would be better for Democrats to have new leadership in Congress — she must be a more forceful leader of “the resistance.”
While Trump wasn’t on the ballot Tuesday, the Democratic wins over Republican incumbents in House districts across the country, including a few in California, were a clear repudiation of his divisive and destructive presidency. The new Democratic majority has a mandate to stop it from getting even worse.
Editor’s note: Editorials from other newspapers are offered to stimulate debate and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Tribune.