As expected, and despite grassroots demands, Congressman Goodlatte and other members of the Republican majority on the House Judiciary Committee voted against Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s resolution of inquiry asking the Department of Justice to provide Congress with documents relating to President Trump conflicts of business interests and possible ties to Russia.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) called the resolution “unnecessary, premature” and driven by politics. Instead, he said Republican members of the committee are drafting a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting his voluntary cooperation in any investigation related to Russia and Trump’s business conflicts — with Democrats encouraged to sign on.
Other Republicans were harsher.
“This is just about politics and the hyperbole is thick enough to cut with a knife,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida freshman Republican. “In fact, what we are witnessing is that President Trump’s detractors are going through the stages of grief because Hillary Clinton lost and Donald Trump won.”
Though Republicans voted down the measure, the vote itself was a partial victory for Democrats, who forced many of the committee’s 23 Republicans into the uncomfortable position of rejecting a call for greater oversight of Trump’s potential conflicts.
After the vote, Nadler tweeted:
The most important thing that will happen Tuesday on Capitol Hill won’t be President Trump’s address to Congress.
It will be the Goodlatte-chaired House Judiciary Committee’s consideration of Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s resolution of inquiry (H. Res. 111) that would compel the Department of Justice to provide Congress with documents relating to President Trump’s conflicts of business interests and possible ties to Russia.
According to Nadler:
Chairman Goodlatte… gave notice of an amendment in the nature of a substitute to my resolution, with wording virtually identical to H. Res. 111. That amendment only exists as a threat to cut off debate on the underlying resolution. I urge the Chairman not to break from the longstanding practice of the House Judiciary Committee, and to allow a full debate on the resolution of inquiry. If Republicans choose to block the measure, so be it. At least we will know where they stand.
Goodlatte needs to hear from his Sixth District constituents by 10 a.m. Tuesday that they want the Judiciary Committee to approve Nadler’s resolution of inquiry. Phone his office at (202) 225-5431 or email him via his website.
You can watch the Judiciary Committee hearing starting at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday here.
House Republicans next week plan to derail a Democratic resolution that would have forced disclosure of President Donald Trump’s potential ties with Russia and any possible business conflicts of interest, according to multiple House sources.
Seeking to avoid a full House vote on the so-called “resolution of inquiry” — a roll call that would be particularly embarrassing and divisive for the right — Republicans will send proposal by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to the House Judiciary Committee for a panel vote on Tuesday, two Democratic sources said. The GOP-controlled committee is expected to kill the resolution.
Without committee action, obscure parliamentary procedures would allow Democrats to call the resolution to the floor for a vote by the full House. But rejection by the Judiciary panel all but assures the measure will never see a floor vote.
“Unless the resolution is reported by the committee within 14 legislative days, either favorably, unfavorably or without recommendation, then it can be brought up on the House floor immediately thereafter, so the committee plans to address this resolution next week,” said one House Judiciary Committee aide in a statement.
Resolutions of inquiry are rare in Congress and privileged, meaning lawmakers can circumvent leadership and force action on the floor if they’re ignored for 14 legislative days.
The resolutions can force presidents and agencies to give Congress private records. Nadler’s, for example, demands that Attorney General Jeff Sessions hand over to the Hill “any document, record, memo, correspondence or other communication” pertaining to “criminal or counterintelligence investigations” related to Trump, White House staff or his business.
Democrats have blasted Trump for failing to make a clean break from his real estate empire, accusing him of being vulnerable to conflicts of interest. They also are suspicious of his campaign’s relationship with Russia. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that top Russian officials orchestrated interference into the 2016 presidential election on Trump’s behalf.
The House Judiciary Committee is chaired by Bob Goodlatte, who has ignored requests by committee Democrats to schedule hearings on Trump’s conflicts of interest. If Goodlatte and the other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee vote to block the disclosure to Congress of information on Trump’s conflicts of interest and his campaign’s connections with Russian officials, all their claims to be interested in getting to the truth about these matters will be exposed for the shams they are.
As people in Waynesboro and throughout the Sixth District ask “Where’s Bob?” Congressman Goodlatte traveled to India this week with other members of the House Judiciary Committee.
In principle there is nothing wrong with members of Congress visiting other countries. But they should do so with a modicum of independence, and not just as an emissary for the president.
Before meeting [Prime Minister Narendra Modi], …Goodlatte declined to answer a question on visa restrictions, saying it was up to President Trump to reassess his policies on immigration.
Goodlatte also said the U.S. president had been a businessman, “And he likes to do deals and he also wants to do deals with India and other countries around the world.”
That’s nice. But what do you think, Congressman?
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin is one of a handful of conservatives who have tracked the first weeks of the Trump administration in undisguised horror.
Her displeasure extends to the hypocrisy of Trump-supporting Republicans in Congress– including the representative from the Sixth District of Virginia.
One can only marvel at the toadyism of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) — who previously recommended gutting the ethics office — in demanding a full-scale investigation by the Justice Department inspector general into leaks but resolutely resisting any investigation into President Trump’s breached hotel lease, his conflicts of interest, his ties with Russia and his recent receipt of a trademark from China — just after reaffirming the One China policy — which is indisputably an “emolument” from a foreign government.
Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee have asked twice for Goodlatte to schedule hearings on Trump’s conflicts of interest– to no avail. If he ever shows his face in public to his Sixth District constituents (not just a selected group), maybe we could ask him about it.
Since the House of Representatives is off next week for “district work,” Congressman Goodlatte may actually be out and about in the Sixth District. Not that he is likely to make his presence anywhere widely known in advance.
If you spot Goodlatte, or learn of his whereabouts, please report it in the comments below.
(Hat tip: Chris Gavaler)
Update: Unless you’ll be in India next week, never mind. Indian media report that Goodlatte will lead a bipartisan Congressional delegation of eight lawmakers visiting New Delhi and Bangalore from February 20 to 23. No mention of the visit on his website, and it’s about as far from the Sixth District as you can get.
There’s nothing wrong in principle with members of Congress visiting foreign countries. But maybe an Indian reader of Goodlatte Watch (there is at least one) can ask him when he will hold an in-person town hall meeting in Roanoke, Staunton or Front Royal.