Congressional probes are urgently needed


Donald Trump and his supporters are in a rage about the various investigations by House of Representatives committees. There are many very good, and urgent, reasons for the recent rise in these activities.

During the first two years of his presidency, Trump was served by a Republican-controlled Congress that chose to look the other way and not do any diligent oversight of the executive branch. As a result, the new House inherited a large backlog of items the Constitution requires it to examine.

First, the Congress needs to investigate the many ways that Donald Trump has attempted to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s attacks on our democracy in 2016, his many attempts to cast doubt on the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia committed those attacks, and his many lies about his attempted business dealings in Russia.

A second issue is Trump’s method of governance. When you appoint questionable, poorly vetted people to key posts in your administration, that vetting will become public. Placing a bunch of family members in key positions and then ignoring their security risks raises a red flag for those who do not believe in such authoritarian actions.

A third issue is the president’s persona and what he brings to the position. If you don’t like being questioned all the time, then stop lying all the time. Trump has had many affairs and shady business dealings and has tried to cover them up when public knowledge of details could hurt him. Hence the constant need for a “fixer.” Fixers do not always operate within the boundaries of established legalities, and neither do their bosses.

Trump has refused to make public his tax returns. He has alienated most of our closest allies. He has participated in summit meetings with some of the shadiest of countries with little or no transparency of agreements established in those encounters. No modern president has publicly held our intelligence agencies in such low regard and utilized them less.

GOP members of the investigating House committees can howl all they want, but when in control they neglected their constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the executive.

For these and a variety of other reasons, voters in the 2018 election fired many House Republicans and voted for a Democratic majority.

Ed Shaffer