Now we know why the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee seemed so quietly satisfied after their committee’s secret basement meeting on Friday afternoon. Based on her words today, it appears that Republican Senator Susan Collins has sided with the Democrats to give them a majority within the committee, forcing a serious investigation into Donald Trump and Russia. And Collins is now publicly laying out her next steps in the investigation.
The Senate Intelligence Committee currently consists of eight Republicans and seven Democrats (technically six Democrats and one Independent, Angus King, who routinely votes with the Democrats). All it would take for the Democrats to assume de facto control of the committee with regard to Trump-Russia is for one Republican member to side with them. And it appears Susan Collins is that Republican.
Collins is now publicly demanding that recently resigned National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee with regard to what he knows about Donald Trump and Russia. Collins also said today (as reported by Politico) that she and her committee will subpoena Trump’s tax returns “if it’s necessary to get to the answers” on what his connections are to Russia. The public demands now coming from Collins are essentially identical to what the Democrats on the Senate Intel Committee have been publicly calling for all along, suggesting she’s taken their side, giving them control of the committee. And that’s not the only Senate committee where things are now firmly underway.
The Senate Judiciary Committee also consists of a Republican majority. But it’s now sent a bipartisan letter, signed by the committee’s top Republican Chuck Grassley and its top Democrat Dianne Feinstein, demanding that they be given access to the transcripts of Michael Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.
Donald Trump’s sinking approval ratings, combined with the fierce anti-Trump protests nationwide which aren’t letting up any time soon, appear to have spurred Senate Republicans into action on Trump-Russia, whether they wanted to go there or not. If the Senate Republicans on these committees were playing games with these investigations, the Senate Democrats would be publicly calling them out for it to the media. Instead this now very much appears to be a serious bipartisan Senate effort to get to the bottom of the Trump-Russia scandal. Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report