With Robert Mueller’s investigation into “Russian collusion” moving heavily in the direction of anything else, it should come as no surprise that resistance-minded democrats would do the same.
After all, the left is hanging their hopes for delegitimizing the President on the shoulders of Mueller almost entirely.
For his part, Mueller has delivered the democrats a few convictions here and there, but none so far that fit the bill of a Kremlin conspiracy – a fact that has drawn the ire of the American people frequently over the course of the last 18 months plus.
Now, as Mueller’s dog whistles reach the Congressional population, it seems as though the obedient liberals are falling in line with this new focus as well.
President Trump said some time ago that he believes his personal finances should be off limits to investigators. In an interview with the Times in July, 2017, he asserted that if Robert Mueller, the special counsel, sought to investigate the Trump family’s business dealings he would be crossing a “red line.” When, later that year, several news reports suggested that Mueller had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records relating to Trump’s businesses, the President reportedly told members of his staff that he wanted to fire Mueller in response. It was never confirmed whether Mueller had actually subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, but the President’s aversion to the scrutiny of his business interests caught the attention of Representative Adam Schiff, who will become the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence next year. On a recent weekend, at a busy restaurant in downtown Burbank, in the heart of his congressional district, Schiff talked about his plans for conducting an investigation that will be parallel to Mueller’s, probing Trump’s connections to Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other places around the world. As Schiff described his approach, it became clear that he wasn’t just planning to cross Trump’s red line—he intended to obliterate it.
And Schiff appears to be adamant.
“Our role is not the same as Bob Mueller’s,” Schiff told me, over a vegan burger. (He changed his eating habits a few years ago, in order to lower his cholesterol.) The job of prosecutors like Mueller is to identify and prosecute crimes, not necessarily to inform and educate the public. Congressional committees, like the one Schiff will soon lead, are supposed to monitor the executive branch and expose wrongdoing. Mueller is supposed to file a report on his findings, but, in keeping with the regulations for the office of the special counsel, it will be up to his supervisor in the Justice Department, who is now Matthew Whitaker, the acting Attorney General, to determine whether Mueller’s report is made public. Schiff has his own agenda for areas to investigate. “The one that has always concerned me is the financial issues, which obviously have come much to the fore this week,” he said. Shortly before Schiff and I spoke, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, had pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his role in the negotiations for building a Trump tower in Moscow. Cohen had said earlier that these discussions ended in January, 2016, but he admitted in court that he had been negotiating with Russian officials, and keeping Trump apprised, through the first half of 2016, during the Republican Presidential primaries. Trump has denied that he was doing business with the Russians during this period.
Now the only question will be whether or not Trump is ready to enforce that “red line” that he has already drawn in the sand.