Washington, DC – On February 28, 2017, House Judiciary Committee Republicans voted to kill Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) resolution of inquiry, H. Res. 111. The resolution would have directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide the House of Representatives with information relevant to President Trump’s conflicts of interest, his potential violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause, and ties between his campaign advisors and the Russian regime. The full text of the Resolution of Inquiry can be found here.
House Judiciary Republicans Offer Excuses Instead of Oversight: During the hearing, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) attempted to justify his opposition to H. Res 111 by claiming that he plans to send a letter to request information from DOJ. Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) also indicated that he was working on a letter to DOJ. However, there is nothing that would prevent Members from voting for a resolution as well as sending letters.
GOP arguments ignored the fact that the resolution already follows two letters to Chairman Bob Goodlatte—both signed by every Democratic member of the Committee—requesting hearings about federal conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions that may apply to the President. Democrats have also sent several letters to Speaker Paul Ryan, the Department of Justice and the White House requesting this and related information concerning Trump’s ties to Russia.
House Judiciary Republicans Won’t Acknowledge Concerns over Clear Russia Ties:During the hearing, Rep. Darrell Issa mischaracterized statements by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, suggesting that he had reviewed evidence and found nothing to suggest contacts between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. In reality, the intelligence committee has not yet received any new information, a point that Rep. Schiff made clear yesterday and confirmed to Democratic Members today.
During the markup, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) questioned the unanimous conclusion of the Intelligence Community that the Russian government attempted to influence the recent election--a conclusion that even President Trump has come to accept.
House Judiciary Republicans Reject Critical Amendments: House Judiciary Committee Republicans rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) that would have requested the Department of Justice to disclose information concerning inappropriate contacts between the White House and the FBI. The amendment failed on a party line vote of 15-18.View amendment text here.
The Majority also rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) that would have asked the Department of Justice to provide information about the possible recusal of Attorney General Sessions, in light of his personal and political connections to the Trump campaign. The amendment failed on a party line vote of 15-16. View amendment text here.
During the markup, Republicans also moved to “take down” from the Committee transcript (or censor) Rep. Ted Lieu’s words even though he had merely sought to state that President Trump was responsible for repeated lies and misstatements.
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) released the following statement after the markup:
“Today’s vote is part of a concerted effort by Republicans, from Donald Trump and his White House staff to the Congressional Majority, to block efforts to expose the truth about alleged wrongdoing by the Trump campaign and the Trump administration. I’m deeply disappointed in the Majority’s refusal to provide proper oversight over President Trump and his Administration. If passed, this resolution would have granted us access to information on Mr. Trump’s conflicts of interest and alleged ties to Russia. It’s long past time for the Majority to do their jobs and hold the Trump administration accountable. I am hopeful that the American people will continue to make their voices heard in their pursuit of the truth.”
Background: A resolution of inquiry requesting information to be provided by the Administration can be brought to the floor if the relevant Committee fails to report it within 14 legislative days.
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