Congress is bearing down on Donald Trump and his administration of looters, opportunists and enablers.
The House Judiciary Committee has voted to cite Attorney General William Barr for contempt, for his refusal to share the Mueller Report in its complete and non-redacted form. For Congress, this is the first step in a journey of thousands up to the November 2020 election, unless something occurs or is uncovered that will short-circuit the secrecies of the Trump administration.
I agree with most people who believe that impeachment is the correct action to go against a renegade executive, whether or not acquittal in the Senate is guaranteed. Congress cannot allow unprincipled refusal to cooperate to be the norm. Secrecy enables self-dealing and other corrupt practices.
Journalists, purveyors of the alleged fake news, are enjoying a golden age of investigative reporting. Dogged persistence, in the face of White House recrimination and intimidation, has produced material revelations almost daily. The leaking of information, even if done for the wrong reason, casts light on the clandestine operation of Trump’s Washington. Without journalists, the government would be as dark as Dante’s Inferno.
Entire departments of the government are understaffed and opaque. Voters need to know about the government’s policies when they are affected by them. Voters need to know if elected officials are carrying out the laws in the direction promised. They need to know if the officials themselves are complying with law.
Whether or not Trump’s obstructions were criminal, surely they were acts of misconduct. The Mueller Report at its root is a compendium of the administration’s bad conduct, a subject with which our Congress in the first instance must be concerned. The Judiciary and Intelligence committees are charged with that duty. They should be allowed to know all of the facts and sources in order to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of government.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office was concerned with criminality. Congress must address the non-criminal aspects of the administration. CASE CLOSED, Senator Mitch McConnell’s latest declaration, is intended to shut down Congress in its work. The Majority Leader is so wrong-headed as to warrant censure himself. Those of us who survived the Nixon presidency and the Watergate investigation know how close Nixon actually came to getting away with it. A bipartisan Congress and an incorruptible independent counsel forced his hand.
The founders understood the principles of divided government, but they did not envision or provide for a government so split that it is polarized on the necessity of government. The reason for the administration’s failure to fill posts and to keep policy under wraps is a distaste for governmental initiative. The administration governs by the law of the jungle. Anti-democratic principles, such as Cheney and Barr’s unitary executive theory , fulfill a reactionary vision of American life, in which wealth rules with impunity, and those without it are subjects, not citizens.