The Trump administration will finally face some basic congressional oversight now that Democrats control the House and it’s responding about how you’d expect: delaying and attacking. The attacks are intended to frame any investigation as illegitimate—a story that Donald Trump’s base will lap up and too many in the traditional media can probably be bullied into believing—while the delay is more complicated.
Partly it’s to buy time to come up with legal arguments that the entire administration is immune from oversight, of course. But the delay is also partly because Trump’s inner circle was “ill-prepared” to face investigations. “They were slow to hire lawyers and other staffers, warn aides to retain personal attorneys and research sensitive issues to prepare for the investigations,” Politico reports, “even after it became clear the Democrats would win the House, according to several Republicans close to the administration.”
Either way, the plan is clear: don’t give up any information, and loudly insist that rank partisanship is the only reason anyone might have any questions for Trump’s aides. It’s all a “witch hunt,” no matter how many of Trump’s former close associates get sentenced to prison. No one should dare question the administration of a president who spent his first year in office doling out monthly checks to cover up hush money paid to, in turn, cover up an affair with an adult film actress. Let alone question the secret conversations of that president and the leader of the country that undermined the 2016 elections to get him into office.
It’s also the only plan that Team Trump could realistically have, since no matter what, Trump himself is going to be stumbling around saying things like “The witch hunt continues” and “It’s a disgrace, it’s a disgrace for our country,” where the supposed disgrace is that his administration is under investigation and not that he apparently overruled intelligence officials to give his heavily compromised son-in-law a security clearance. What are they going to do, pretend they care about the rule of law? That pose couldn’t last any longer than it took for Trump to settle onto the toilet with Twitter open on his phone.
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