House Democrats, flummoxed by their failed attempt to remove President Trump earlier this year, are gearing up for another round of quasi-impeachment with their coronavirus oversight committee.
It’s been just a few months, believe it or not, since the House impeached the President for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, but the moment was quickly overshadowed by the global pandemic. The coronavirus committee thus could be the Democrats’ last ditch effort to dig up dirt on the President before the election in November.
Democrats claim the new committee is necessary to investigate the trillions of dollars in government stimulus money being distributed for coronavirus relief, but the overlapping nature of the committee with other existing oversight mechanisms and the stacking of the committee with anti-Trump zealots calls into question that motivation.
According to the Hill, the committee is most likely redundant: ‘Congress last month had created a five-member panel of bipartisan lawmakers charged with overseeing hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout loans for corporations. And that enormous relief package also created a separate panel of inspectors general, as well as a third oversight post: the special inspector general for pandemic recovery.’
The lineup of Democratic committee members appointed by Nancy Pelosi furthers the perception that this is not a fact-gathering or oversight mission but a partisan attempt at gathering damaging information on the President ahead of the election. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the chair of the committee, has compared Trump to Hitler on multiple occasions over the past several years. Rep. Maxine Waters, one of the committee’s members, has been calling for Trump’s impeachment since his inauguration. Rep. Jamie Raskin, another member, led the charge to impeach Trump back in 2017 — notably through a so-called ‘oversight’ committee that sought to declare the president mentally unfit for office. Are we really supposed to believe that these individuals intend to conduct a fair inquiry into the administration’s coronavirus response?
‘By installing Whip Clyburn to lead the committee, the man widely believed to have secured the Democratic nomination for Joe Biden, Pelosi is making it clear that the committee will stop at nothing to try and hurt President Trump’s re-election chances,’ a senior Republican official with knowledge of the select committee told The Spectator.
If the Democrats’ recent seizing on so-called administration ‘scandals’ is any guide, the oversight committee will be trafficking in half-baked hearsay. The House’s Health subcommittee is already hearing testimony from Rick Bright, for example, a former Health and Human Services official who claimed he was ousted from the administration over his skepticism of the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus. Bright, however, was apparently already on the outs before the pandemic and sent a letter to the FDA requesting fast-tracking of anti-malarial medication for COVID-related use. He is also being represented by Debra Katz, Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyer who was filmed promising to ‘resist’ Trump at a rally in 2017. The latest batch of hand-wringing has been over an Associated Press scoop that the administration ‘shelved’ a CDC guide to reopening the economy, which they admit is still made available to states who ask for it. The White House also says CDC leadership never cleared the document for public release, while an anonymous administration official told the Daily Caller that it was simply too specific to be useful for states who have varying degrees of severity to their outbreaks.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has decided to fight fire with fire, adding Reps. Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, Jackie Walorski, Blaine Leutkemeyer, and Mark Green to the committee’s ranks, but President Trump has taken a different approach to the Democrats’ latest hit. Initially, the White House claimed members of the coronavirus task force could not testify because they were too busy focusing on the pandemic, but Trump later revealed the real reason for their absence: ‘The House is a setup. The House is a bunch of Trump haters. They put every Trump hater on the committee. The same old stuff.’ Instead, task force members will testify in front of the Republican-led Senate. It’s a smart strategy: kill the efficacy of the committee by denying it any legitimacy. It doesn’t deserve it.