As his final term in Congress winds down, Congressman Goodlatte may have developed something like a backbone when it comes to standing up to President Trump.
Very late, but better late than never.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today called on the Trump Administration to consult Congress immediately regarding the refugee ceiling for the coming year as required by law. Earlier this week, Department of State Secretary Mike Pompeo announced the fiscal year 2019 refugee ceiling without having first consulted with Congress.
Congressman Goodlatte: “The law is clear: the Administration must consult with Congress prior to the President’s determination of the annual refugee ceiling. But this did not happen this year, and the Trump Administration has no excuse for not complying with their obligation under the law. There is a real question as to whether the President can even set a number of refugees that carries the weight of law unless it is done after an appropriate consultation with Congress. Leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee have worked in good faith for weeks to schedule a consultation, and I call on the Trump Administration to provide the Committees with a consultation immediately.
“The Administration’s lack of consultation underscores once again why this process is fundamentally flawed and why the refugee program is in need of reform. Congress, not the President, should set the annual refugee ceiling. The refugee program is currently the only immigration benefit program with an annual limit that is not determined by Congress. Immigration and Border Security Chairman Raul Labrador and I have introduced the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act, which has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee. This bill, among many other provisions, gives Congress the authority to set the refugee ceiling. The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act maintains our nation’s generosity toward those in need and prevents bad actors from gaming the system.”
Reacting to the news that FBI agent Peter Strzok has been fired after a contentious Congressional hearing co-chaired by Congressman Goodlatte, Bobby Goodlatte lets us know what he thinks of his father’s actions.
The Washington Post reports:
Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s attorney, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing Friday, even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI’s repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process.
“This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,” Goelman said, adding in a statement, “This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans.”
And this from a reporter for Politico:
A message from the son of retiring Republican Congressman Goodlatte:
I hope Congressman Goodlatte is proud of raising a son capable of thinking independently of his father. He should be.
If Congressman Goodllatte took (for him) a critical view of President Trump’s disgraceful performance at the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin, he has wasted little time scurrying back into line with the White House.
A July 23 editorial in The Washington Post provides details:
The Justice Department on Saturday released the warrant applications that investigators submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asking for permission to surveil former Trump adviser Carter Page. Mr. Trump and his enablers have made the documents central to their claims of FBI bias in its conduct of the Russia probe. In fact, the documents show that the investigative process was sound and the Republican narrative is paranoid, cynical or both.
Participating in the degradation on Sunday was House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who insisted that “there is a serious problem with the FBI” presenting a warrant application that, he claimed, was based on the so-called Steele dossier, a collection of mostly unverified reports about the behavior of Mr. Trump and his associates. As he echoed this line, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said “the warrant, the FISA warrant process needs to be looked at closely by Congress.”
Mr. Goodlatte is a key overseer of the nation’s legal affairs. Mr. Graham served in the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps. Both should know better than to assist in the trashing of a legitimate federal law enforcement operation.
Goodlatte’s persistent efforts to undercut the FBI investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign are not news to readers of this blog. But at least one Republican with a genuine commitment to the truth has a different take:
“You have an individual here who has openly bragged about his ties to Russia,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said of Mr. Page. “And the FBI’s job is to protect this country from threats. . . . So they look at all this information. They say: We have a guy here who’s always in Russia, brags about Russia, and we have reason to believe — and they list those reasons — why this is someone we should be watching. And they followed the legal process by which to do so.”
… How many Republicans will continue to abet this wanton attack on the Justice Department and the judiciary — on American democracy?
No matter how many, it appears Goodlatte will be among them.
Even though he can’t bring himself to mention Donald Trump by name, this is (as best I recall) Congressman Goodlatte’s first public criticism of the president since the 2016 election.
Watch as Congressman Goodlatte makes a fool of himself with his ultra-partisan badgering of FBI official Peter Strzok at a joint hearing of the House Judiciary Committee (which he chairs) and the House Intelligence Committee.
Goodlatte threatened Strzok with a contempt citation after he declined to answer a question because FBI lawyers had instructed him not to answer any questions about the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
For months Goodlatte has been on a crusade to portray Strzok as part of an anti-Trump “conspiracy” at the FBI– despite solid evidence to the contrary.
Anyone who thought Goodlatte, once he announced his retirement from Congress, would feel less obligated to take Donald Trump’s side at every opportunity clearly overestimated the integrity of the congressman.
Dana Milbank writes in The Washington Post:
Babies are seized from their mothers’ arms. Photographs show their anguish. News reports describe their cages. A recording captures their wailing and a U.S. border official’s cold mockery. A defiant President Trump falsely blames others for the misery he created.
And Republican lawmakers respond as they often have: They hold another hearing about Hillary Clinton’s emails.
But they have run this play too many times before.
Just 29 seconds into Tuesday’s hearing on the defeated Democratic 2016 presidential nominee and her emails, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, interrupted to point out that something more important needs attention.
“We have seen the pictures of immigrants ripped apart from their parents at the border. These children are not animals,” he said. “They are children who have been forcibly removed from their parents in our name.”
Republicans on the committee tried to silence Nadler with calls of “order!”
Nadler spoke over them: “The United States should be better than this. We should not put children in cages.”
“Regular order!” called out Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Nadler “has been given more time than would have been afforded the other side, had we pulled something like that.”
Ah, so it’s “regular order” to have the umpteenth hearing about a now-private citizen’s emails, but you’re “pulling” a stunt if you talk about the Trump policy under which border guards are reportedly telling parents they are taking children “for a bath” and the children never return.
No, Republicans, your “regular order” is out of order.