Thursday, February 16, 2017


House Judiciary GOP Offers Bare Minimum Response; Strike Down Dem Amendments to Investigate Trump & Russia Ties

Last night, the Chairmen of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees wrote a letter calling for an investigation into the leaks that exposed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn--after consistently refusing to investigate either Flynn or Russian hacking. House Republicans have refused to investigate or even acknowledge concerns about Russian interference with the 2016 election and any Trump Administration connections to that interference.

Just yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee marked up the House Republicans’ oversight plan for the 115th Congress. You can view the original Republican plan here.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
In his opening statement, Ranking Member John Conyers said, “…I fear that there are several urgent matters within our jurisdiction that will not be discussed on a timely basis if we do not bring them up today…the Majority has been conspicuously silent with respect to report after report connecting various figures in the President’s inner circle to the government of Vladimir Putin….The fact that General Flynn has resigned does little to resolve a number of questions that this Committee has a responsibility to ask—especially after last night’s revelation that the Trump campaign was in direct communication with Russian intelligence operatives—and we will begin to ask some of those questions today.”Ranking Member Conyers’ full remarks are available here.

Facing criticism for failure to conduct meaningful oversight of the Trump Administration, Chairman Goodlatte offered an amendment to the oversight plan that discussed oversight into “allegations of misconduct by Executive Branch officials” and “allegations of leaks of classified information.”  Democratic Rep. Cicilline offered a successful amendment to the Goodlatte amendment, addressing “allegations of interference with our democratic institutions or efforts to improperly or illegally interfere with our elections.”  

Ranking Member Conyers had this to say about the majority's bare minimum effort: “I will not oppose the adoption of the amendment, as far as it goes, but what is disturbing is that it clearly does not go far enough.  In specifying a focus on leaks, it undermines the gravity of the wrongdoing the leaks expose.  In doing so, it appears that my Republican colleagues are embracing and channeling Donald Trump, whose administration has displayed a dangerous degree of incompetence, particularly on national security matters.  And the incompetence, dishonesty, unethical behavior, and disregard for our constitutional issues show no sign of abating.”

The final oversight plan does not specifically address any concerns about the integrity of the election or any of the alleged connections between the Trump Administration and the government of Vladimir Putin. The markup spanned more than 7 hours as Democratic members of the committee offered a number of amendments on Trump Administration contacts with the Russian government, President Trump’s ongoing conflicts of interest, and other matters that the Majority chose not to prioritize in their proposed oversight plan. 

A full list of the amendments that House Judiciary Republicans voted down is available below.

Failed 11-16
In the Intellectual Property Subcommittee section, amends the “Federal Judiciary” section to discuss threats to federal judges.

Failed 13-15
In the Immigration Subcommittee section, adds a new item on the deportation of parents of minor children.

Jackson Lee
Failed 13-19
In the Crime Subcommittee section, amends the item on the FBI to discuss the FBI’s investigation of Trump Administration contacts with Russia.

Jackson Lee
Failed 11-18
In the Crime Subcommittee section, amends the item on the FBI to discuss the bureau’s public disclosure of information related to high-profile investigations.

Failed 12-17
In the Constitution Subcommittee section, amends the “Free Speech” item to discuss threats to the freedom of the press.

Failed 11-17
In the Constitution Subcommittee section, adds new item on false allegations of voter fraud.

Failed 10-15
In the Constitution Subcommittee section, amends the “Religious Liberty” section to discuss entry into the United States.

Failed 10-14
In the Full Committee section, adds discussion of the foreign emoluments clause to “Protecting Congress’ Constitutional Powers.”

Failed 11-15
In the Immigration Subcommittee section, amends the “Refugee Program” item to discuss the rigorous vetting of refugees.

Failed 12-18
In the Immigration Subcommittee section, adds a new item on the deportation of Dreamers.

Failed 11-17
In the Full Committee section, adds a new item on DOJ’s investigation into Russian influence on 2016 election.

Failed 12-19
In the Full Committee section, adds new item on background checks for security clearances.

In the Constitution Subcommittee section, amends the “War on Terrorism” item to discuss the limits of congressionally authorized military force.

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