It’s been more than 24 hours since President Trump gave an astounding interview to The New York Times in which he:
— Said that if he had known Attorney General Jeff Sessions was going to recuse himself from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, he would not have appointed him.
— Basically accused Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe of being Democratic party hacks.
— Suggested special counsel Robert Mueller has a vendetta against him because he wasn’t appointed FBI director and said, “A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case.” Trump has called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt.”
— Said Mueller would cross a “red line” if he investigates anything related to Trump’s or his family’s finances and left open the possibility of firing Mueller.
This would be troubling regardless of Goodlatte’s status in the House of Representatives. But as chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee– charged with overseeing the executive branch and federal law enforcement– his silence is downright inexplicable and appalling. Equally dismaying is his refusal to schedule hearings on any of the multiple scandals surrounding the Trump administration, despite repeated calls from committee members.
By contrast the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Republican Charles Grassley, plans to call Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to testify at an open hearing about alleged ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.
On May 17 Goodlatte issued the following statement:
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the right decision by appointing a special counsel to oversee the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence our nation’s 2016 presidential election. Former Director Mueller is a well-respected law enforcement professional who served the FBI for a dozen years under both Democratic and Republican presidents. I am confident that he will serve with integrity and professionalism, and will conduct a thorough and fair investigation.
I applaud the Trump Administration for taking this important step that the previous Administration repeatedly declined to do in other matters, ensuring an independent and thorough investigation is conducted to unearth all the facts. This decision will help instill much needed public confidence in the investigation.
Does Goodlatte stand by that statement? If so, it’s more important than ever that he says so– loud and clear.
Update: Judiciary Committee Democrats have sent another letter to Goodlatte:
This letter represents the fourth time that we have written to you to ask that the House Committee on the Judiciary hold hearings on matters that now extend well beyond any investigation into Russian influence. To date, you have not responded to any of these requests. More importantly, the Committee has not yet held a single hearing about the damage being done to the Department of Justice by the Trump Administration.
We write again to request that you schedule hearings with the senior leadership of the Department of Justice, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, without delay.