Leading Democrats on the incoming House Intelligence Committee already have their first target in an investigation on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Adam Schiff, who is expected to head the House Intelligence Committee once Democrats assume the House majority in January, told USA Today that Democrats intend to pursue leads that the Republicans have previously prevented them from investigating.
Schiff detailed that the “clearest example” of Republican obstruction came over a call with a blocked number on Donald Trump Jr.’s phone as he was arranging a meeting with a Russian lawyer. Among the most pressing questions on Schiff and the incoming House Intelligence Committee’s agenda, will be whether or not that blocked number belonged to Donald Trump.
USA Today reports that Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with the Russian lawyer for June 2016 after the Trump campaign was promised “dirt” on the future president’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump Jr. has previously denied his father knew about the meeting the night he arranged it. However, he later backtracked when questioned by Senate Investigators and claimed he couldn’t remember who he spoke to that evening.
Schiff speculated that the Republican’s decision not to obtain records that would reveal the identity of the blocked phone number stemmed from fear. He told USA Today, “they were afraid of what the answer might be”.
Schiff’s comments came just two days after another of Donald Trump’s children answered questions over their conduct. The New York Times reported that Ivanka Trump was questioned by two Republican Congressmen over her use of a personal email account for government business.
Given that Republican-led committees have previously expressed minimal interest in investigating the conduct of those in the White House, the decisions from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Oversight Committee to question Ivanka could be an ominous sign of things to come for Trump and his family.
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Oliver is a UK-born freelance writer and journalist based in Boston. He is a self-confessed politics junkie with a passion for foreign and environmental policy. His work has been featured on Open Democracy, International Policy Digest, and the London Economic. He was a regular contributor for ASEAN Today.