Congressional Republicans are worried that Donald Trump might overreach his authority by misusing the National Emergency Act to steal billions for his wall, but that’s not the only sign that Trump is simply done even pretending about this separation of powers thing.
Last November, following the brutal torture and murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the Senate issued a bipartisan demand under the Magnitsky Act that the White House investigate and produce a report on the killing. But on Friday, Feb. 8, when that report was due, Congress did not get a report. Instead, according to Politico, it got a statement from Trump that he “reserved the right to decline.” That’s right. Trump declared that for him, following the law is strictly optional.
U.S. resident Khashoggi was lured into a diplomatic consulate in Turkey, ambushed by a hit squad who came equipped with a bone saw, tortured, dismembered, and then murdered, all at the order of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. As the Saudi denials became ever more ludicrous, Republicans signed on to trigger the required 120-day investigation. The Magnitsky Act report is required when demanded by both the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee file a demand. And they did.
Now that Trump is openly flouting the law, Republicans are, in Politico’s words, “fuming.” They’re fuming so much that former Sen. Bob Corker, who signed on to require the report … had no comment. Neither did many others who beat their chest over the topic four months ago.
But there are a handful of Republicans willing to complain—enough that Politico classifies it as an “uproar,” even though that uproar is getting almost no media attention, and no Senate action. It’s a Republican uproar that looks like this:
“They owe us a report,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said. “We can make a fuss about it.”
Well, that should definitely put some fear into Trump: a fuss.
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