Top Democrats appearing on Sunday morning news programs today highlighted their concerns that the revelations this week that the Trump Organization attempted to complete a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow for months longer than the president originally admitted to has severely compromised Trump’s ability to work in the national interest.
The continuation of efforts to reach a real estate deal with the Kremlin beyond the time frame initially specified by Trump was divulged in former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this week and compounded by the disclosure by Buzzfeed News that Russian President Vladimir Putin was offered a penthouse worth $50 million to approve the deal.
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, described the relationship between the president and Russia portrayed in Cohen’s plea deal as “so deeply compromising” that it “puts our country at risk.” Schiff said on ABC’s This Week that the new details that have emerged indicate that Trump’s level of compromise is “far broader than we thought.”
.@RepAdamSchiff on Pres. Trump's "very legal and very cool" tweet on possible Russia business deal: "Whether it was legal or not remains to be seen. It certainly wasn't very cool. More than that, it was very compromising of our country." #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/7QFyJnR1nt
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) December 2, 2018
Representative Jerome Nadler (D-NY), who will be chairing the House Judiciary Committee in the next Congress, explained the leverage that the news gave the Kremlin over our president in an appearance on NBC‘s Meet The Press. Nadler cited the fact “that he was lying to the American people about doing business in Russia and that the Kremlin knew he was lying” as providing Putin with “a hold over him.”
“One question we have now is, does the Kremlin still have hold over him, because of other lies that they know about?” Congressman Nadler worried.
With the incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman likely to be the first to consider any possible impeachment charges against Trump, that question will need to be answered as soon as possible.
WATCH: House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) tells Chuck that obfuscation from the Trump campaign about doing business in Russia “gave the Kremlin a hold over him.”@RepJerryNadler: “It may be that the Kremlin has leverage over the president” pic.twitter.com/VEBTQbL48g
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 2, 2018
While the very prospect of the ideas that both Representatives Schiff and Nadler are discussing is frightening, the good news is that once the new Congress is sworn in they will both have the power to investigate these issues and finally bring oversight to the until-now unrestrained self-dealing administration.
Judging from this week’s revelations alone, it can’t happen soon enough.
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Original reporting by Ben Body at Bloomberg News.