We don’t hafta if we don’t wanna

Remind us how Kushner managed to get a security clearance? And why he still has it?

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee want to see White House records on the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, his security clearance and his access to classified information.

In a letter to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the oversight panel’s 18 Democrats question why Kushner’s security clearance hasn’t been revoked.

The Democrats say Kushner, one of President Trump’s closest advisers, had meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the CEO of a Russian state-owned bank. They say he failed to disclose the meetings as he applied for security clearance and allowed administration officials to say he’d had no such meetings.

“It is unclear why Mr. Kushner continues to have access to classified information while these allegations are being investigated,” says the letter, which seeks similar records on former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn was asked to resign in February after misleading Vice President Pence about his contacts and conversations with Kislyak during the transition period.

Trump and his gang have blown off hundreds of congressional letters of inquiry.

It is also brandishing a legal opinion, crafted by the Justice Department, holding that most of Congress lacks the constitutional power to conduct oversight of the executive branch.

He thinks he has absolute power. He’s getting away with it.

The Justice Department’s legal opinion takes a dismissive view toward individual members of Congress. It says the Constitution limits oversight powers — the authority to ask executive branch agencies for information on what they’re doing — to committee chairs. That freezes out even most Republicans, the overwhelming majority of whom don’t chair committees — and every Democrat on Capitol Hill.

Under this policy, when your local representative writes a letter asking questions about some problem, the agency most likely blows it off.

House Democrats now keep lists of their letters ignored by the administration. The total so far: 260, on issues ranging from infrastructure priorities to possible records of Russian financial ties to President Trump and his family.

In an interview with NPR, [Charles] Grassley said the administration policy runs counter to “everything that every eighth-grade student has studied about checks and balances of government.” Citing language from the presidential oath of office, he said the policy “eliminates the check of most members of Congress to see that the laws are faithfully executed by a president.”

He’s a Republican.

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., contrasts the administration’s position with Trump’s “drain the swamp” rhetoric last fall. He told NPR, “They certainly put an emphasis, with this idea of draining the swamp, on accountability and transparency. But so far, they seem to have moved in the complete opposite direction.”

The Trump administration may also stumble over the bipartisan institutional loyalties that run deep on Capitol Hill, especially in the Senate.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said in an interview, “The idea that the legislative branch would willingly go along with this kind of an assault on its powers by the executive branch runs contrary to the interests of every senator.”

One would think.

3 Responses to “We don’t hafta if we don’t wanna”