House Democrats’ investigative efforts into the Trump administration’s Ukraine dealings have flatlined despite their warnings earlier this year that the president’s foreign policy threatened U.S. national security and endangered the integrity of the 2020 elections.
Democrats, however, insist that their dire warnings still hold true, claiming that they are merely giving in to the legal and political realities.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told Politico:
There is nothing that Donald Trump can do that would cause [Senate Republicans] to convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors. So that has caused everybody in the House to take a deep breath and figure out what our next steps are.
“I would argue that impeachment actually served its purpose. It highlighted for people what we’re dealing with here and what the stakes are,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) added.
Democrats have changed their tune in recent days. They have gone from touting impeachment as a means to prevent a severe national security threat to describing it as a method for raising awareness.
“The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, (D-CA), declared on the Senate floor in January.
Democrats vowed to continue investigating Trump, even after the president’s acquittal on the two articles of impeachment approved by the House.
On Sunday, however, Politico acknowledged that the Democrat-led House investigations of Trump have “gone underground,” adding:
Since Trump’s Feb. 5 acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial, the Democrats who led the prosecution have taken no public steps to reignite the probe that threatened Trump’s presidency — his effort to get Ukraine to investigate his political adversaries — despite arguing at trial that there were reams of evidence yet to emerge.
They’ve issued no new subpoenas or requests for witness interviews and documents, and they’ve made no new efforts to go to court to pry loose evidence blocked by the White House. Separate efforts to access Trump’s financial records and other potentially damaging evidence about his conduct have been bottled up in courts for months.
The House Democrat’s resolution that legitimized the impeachment probe officially authorized investigations into Trump that are unrelated to the Ukraine-linked allegations that triggered efforts to remove the commander-in-chief from office, including efforts to obtain the president’s tax returns.
In other words, the resolution authorized a fishing expedition that has reportedly flatlined in recent weeks.
Fox News pointed out on Sunday:
Holdover efforts by Democrats to flex their oversight muscles have fallen flat in recent days. Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Democrats’ efforts to compel the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn, who was first subpoenaed last April. The White House has asserted executive privilege to protect McGahn’s testimony and documents from disclosure; the longstanding constitutional principle, which was also routinely asserted by the Obama administration, is designed to protect sensitive White House deliberations.
The 2-1 ruling relied on the principle that the federal courts should avoid interference in intra-branch disputes, and was a crushing blow to congressional Democrats’ oversight enforcement both generally, and in the Ukraine matter.
Soon after the ruling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters that she would request a so-called “en banc” review of the decision by the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, Fox News noted, it remains unclear whether Democrats would pursue such an appeal.