In addition to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation into Donald Trump and his Russia scandal, various House and Senate committees have also been investigating various aspects of Trump’s lifetime of crimes. Today, two powerful Senate Democrats have been added to one of the committees investigating Trump. This is a big deal, not only for the dynamics of the investigation, but also for the 2020 race for President.
The resignation of Al Franken and the shift in partisan balance created by the election of Democrat Doug Jones have opened up two slots on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Today those slots were filled by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Senator Kamala Harris of California. It’s not a coincidence that these are two of the rising stars of the Democratic Party and two of the de facto contenders for President in 2020. Let’s talk about the short term and longer term implications of these moves.
For starters, it gives the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee a new path for taking aim at Donald Trump. The ranking Democrat on the committee, Dianne Feinstein, has been doing plenty of that in her own right, as we saw today when she caught the Republicans off guard by unilaterally releasing the transcripts of the Fusion GPS Trump-Russia testimony. But this move gives the Democrats two additional prominent voices for fighting back against the increasingly shady tactics being employed by the Republicans on the committee such as Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham.
This also puts Kamala Harris and Cory Booker in position to significantly raise their own profiles by using the Senate Judiciary Committee investigation to take on Donald Trump directly. This helps set them both up for 2020 presidential bids if they ultimately decide to run. It’s worth noting that Harris is already on the Senate Intel Committee, which is also investigating Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report