While Rep. Devin Nunes, President Donald Trump, and Sean Hannity spent the last week hyping, releasing, and then reeling from the release of the now infamous memo, House Democrats have been quietly pulling the levers of justice behind the scenes. Key Republicans in congress, meanwhile, are no longer standing in their way.
Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) requesting 13 new subpoenas be issued in the committee’s investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal.
“We understand that you personally may disagree with our requests,” Rep. Cummings’ letter states, “but our Committee Members deserve the opportunity to vote on these motions, rather than you blocking their consideration.”
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“House rules provide for subpoenas to be issued by a vote of the full Committee, and we have repeatedly asked for the opportunity to do so,” the letter continues.
“Many Members believe that we must use the full force of the Committee to uphold our Constitutional obligation to conduct rigorous oversight of the executive branch. We ask that you allow these motions, debate them, and hold votes.”
In an extraordinary turn of events, Rep. Gowdy agreed not block the subpoena requests as he’s done in the past, and the committee will vote on each of them as early as Wednesday, February 7.
Among the motions put forward by Rep. Cummings are subpoenas naming the president’s special assistant and son in law Jared Kushner; disgraced former National Security Advisor and now government witness, Michael Flynn; The Trump campaign’s digital media director, Brad Parscale; and executives from Deutsche Bank, the bank which holds debt for Donald Trump and the Trump organization to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Oversight Committee’s investigation is just one of at least three official ongoing investigations trying to determine whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence to undermine the 2016 presidential election and tip the balance in Donald Trump’s favor, but it’s been by far the most quiet.
That’s largely because of Rep. Gowdy, the committee’s Republican chairman, who until now has kept the committee’s work largely out of the spotlight. After recently announcing that he will not seek reelection in 2020, Gowdy perhaps now feels less bound by political considerations than he was just a few weeks ago.
Gowdy’s very public backing of Robert Mueller’s investigation after the Nunes memo is further evidence that he’s cut the cord from the Trump obstruction machine.
Republicans control the committee and could conceivably still vote down the subpoena motions put foward by Rep. Cummings and the Democrats, but it’s unlikely now that Rep. Gowdy has signaled his days blocking the investigation for the president are coming to an end.