Sen. Chuck Grassley, fresh off directing criminal charges at former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele with no evidence of wrongdoing and no consultation with a single Democrat on his committee, is frustrated that Dianne Feinstein made an end-run around his authority.
“Her action undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony relating to the independent recollections of future witnesses,” [a Grassley spokesman] said.
Sure. It’s Feinstein, who released the transcripts from a witness who wrote an op-ed in the New York Times begging someone to release the transcripts, who is frightening off those witnesses. Not Grassley, who is only trying to get a witness arrested after they cooperated.
And on Wednesday, Grassley once again demonstrated his very serious understanding of how an investigation should be conducted. Asked how he would respond to Trump’s latest tweet fuming that Republicans need to ‘get control’ of the investigation they already control, Grassley said he’d have to clear it with the boss.
What Grassley said was that he didnÃ¢Â€Â™t want to comment before talking to the President, then quickly course-corrected, realizing he canÃ¢Â€Â™t admit to speaking with the Trump about the investigation. That was the news here, which @brikeilarcnn smartly pointed out on @CNN just now. https://t.co/s4COkcIrxr
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) January 10, 2018
So … Grassley will ask Trump if it’s okay for Republicans to do what Trump asked them to do … in an investigation that’s supposed to be about Trump.
Honestly, this is less a problem than it may seem, because Republicans are not investigating Trump in the first place. In both public testimony and in transcripts like the one Feinstein released, Republicans are using all their time to attack the witnesses and search up new excuses for why the investigation is pointless. Asking a question that goes to Trump’s guilt is the absolutely last thing on their minds.
Once the microphone goes back into the hands of Republicans, the questions related to Trump stop.
Part of the reason Republicans want to have fewer public hearings and keep the transcripts of closed-door hearings private is that it helps them cover up a partisan process where they’ve done nothing to investigate the crimes that are supposed to be the cause for the whole process.
So why not check with Trump? So far as Republicans are concerned, he’s not involved.