DEMOCRATS

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Obit­u­ar­ies/opin­ion -

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.

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