For the past several days, most of the Trump-Russia focus has been on the failed Devin Nunes memo stunt and the fallout for Donald Trump. But even as those fireworks have been dominating the headlines, something far more substantive has been quietly playing out behind the scenes. More than a dozen new subpoenas are about to be handed down in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, as the investigation continues to close in on him.
Congressman Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, has asked Chairman Trey Gowdy to sign off on thirteen separate subpoenas. They’re aimed at many of the usual suspects: Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, Brad Parscale, Deutsche Bank, and others (link). The point here is the timing. Cummings sent this request to Gowdy the same day the Nunes memo was released, and one day after Gowdy announced that he’s retiring from Congress at the end of the term. Cummings sensed an opening, and it appears he’s guessed correctly.
Gowdy has agreed to allow the committee to vote on the subpoenas, which is a sign that they’re going to happen. If Gowdy wanted to block them, he simply would have blocked the vote. Gowdy is now preparing to quit Congress and he’s singing the praises of Special Counsel Robert Mueller on a daily basis, for reasons still only fully known to him. For whatever reason he’s suddenly playing things very carefully, trying to toe the line. Now he’s caving to Cummings on the Trump-Russia scandal, which means that to some extent the Democrats are now controlling the fate of the House Oversight Committee investigation.
This is crucial because up to now, Trey Gowdy had flatly refused to allow the committee to be used to investigate and expose Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. So even as Robert Mueller continues to move in on Trump from a criminal angle, Cummings is now in position to publicly expose the scandal, which will help take Trump down in the court of public opinion.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report