After their resounding midterm elections victory, House Democrats are preparing widespread investigations into President Trump’s life and work. They began detailing plans to wield their newfound oversight power in the next Congress, setting their sights on the new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, while rebuffing calls from some liberals to pursue impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Those investigations could cover everything from Trump’s ousting of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Trump’s past tax returns as a businessman to the findings of the Robert Mueller investigation into the 2016 election to Trump’s relationship with adult film star, Stormy Daniels.
Democratic Representative of New York, Jerold Nadler, who is poised to take control of the House Judiciary Committee, said he would call Whitaker as a first witness to testify about his "expressed hostility" to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Nadler said he is prepared to subpoena Whitaker, if necessary. “He’s totally unqualified and his only qualification seems to be that the President wants him to be the hatchet man to destroy the Mueller investigation,” Nadler said.
Another incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, democratic representative of California, Adam Schiff, raised the possibility of investigating whether Trump used "instruments of state power" in an effort to punish companies associated with news outlets that have reported critically on him, including CNN and The Washington Post.
Moreover, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee plan to expand their efforts to investigate Trump's involvement in payments to women who alleged affairs with him before the 2016 election, a committee aide said Sunday night, November 11th, potentially opening up the president's finances to further scrutiny.
The moves signal that House Democrats, while wary of the risks of alienating voters who backed the president, are fully embracing their midterm victory last week as a mandate to dig deep into the actions of the executive branch. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who hopes reclaim the position of House speaker when her colleagues vote on leadership roles in the coming weeks, said that the midterms were about, “restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration." "In sharp contrast to the Republic Congress, a Democratic Congress will be led with transparency and openness, so the public can see what's happening and how it affects them. We will have accountability," Pelosi said.
Pelosi has also said that unearthing Trump's personal tax returns would be, "one of the first things we'd do," calling it the "easiest thing in the world" to obtain them by using statutory authority granted to congressional committees under the Internal Revenue Service code.
Democrats made several efforts to obtain Trump's returns while in the minority, only to be rejected by House Republicans. Trump would likely seek to stall those requests with legal challenges and it remains unclear whether Democrats could publicly release his tax returns even if they obtained them for investigative purposes.