According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, only days removed from Trump’s impeachment acquittal, House Democrats are already weighing whether to pursue new investigations into Trump.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) spoke of a sense of “obligation” to continue “There’s a sense that we shouldn’t be going over ground that’s already been covered, but if there’s new information that John Bolton would have or other people would have then we have an obligation to bring that information forward.”
WSJ reports House Democrats are grappling with whether to pursue further investigations of President Trump following his acquittal in the Senate, facing both an election in nine months and fresh White House actions that they say demand scrutiny.
Democrats want to look into whether the president improperly influenced the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for a Trump confidant, casting Mr. Trump as emboldened by the end of the impeachment process. At the same time, party leaders are eager to focus on pocketbook issues for voters, such as health care, and Democrats are wary of launching another drawn-out fight with the White House that could backfire in November.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) staked out a middle ground Thursday. She said the House should investigate any role Mr. Trump played in federal prosecutors’ decision to reduce the initial sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering. Mrs. Pelosi called such alleged meddling an “abuse of power,” echoing the charge in the first of the two impeachment articles.
But Mrs. Pelosi also said House Democrats aren’t going to “spend all of our time going after every lie that the administration henchmen make,” and emphasized that one priority is working with the administration on lowering prescription-drug costs. She signaled no new probes, instead pointing to testimony by Attorney General William Barr scheduled for March and a request made by Senate Democrats for an investigation by the Justice Department inspector general.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Democrats were trying to “manufacture more ‘investigations.’” She said: “At some point you’d think they would take a page out of the president’s book and devote themselves to working for the country, but I guess not.”
In the wake of the Stone controversy, Mr. Barr agreed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, and Democrats are set to ask him about the case, as well as the departure of U.S. attorney Jessie Liu, who had overseen the Stone prosecution and whose nomination for a role at Treasury was withdrawn.
Mr. Barr has said he had no conversations with Mr. Trump about the Stone case, and the decision to change the sentencing recommendation was made independently of the White House. Mr. Trump has denied that he had intervened in the case.
With impeachment done, some Democrats said that current oversight efforts should be aimed at releasing new information to the public that will inform how they vote in November, rather than attempting to remove Mr. Trump from office again.
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