On Wednesday, several House Democrats gathered for a press conference to address how the Trump-Russia scandal’s magnitude has grown too large (not to mention too complex, tainted, and politically charged) for Congress to handle on its own. As such, the group — including Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who introduced Adam Schiff (D-CA) — presented a bill to form a “truly independent commission” on Russia. This new group will be patterned after the 9/11 Commission, which speaks to the nature of this matter.
While at the mic, Cummings expressed appreciation following House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz’s demand for the FBI to turn over every scrap of documentation regarding former Director James Comey and Trump’s conversations. This happened after the president threw a giant wrench into the FBI’s Russia investigation by firing Comey (and he allegedly obstructed justice by pressuring Comey to kill the Micheal Flynn probe). The three dudes who are now running the FBI investigation aren’t likely to stay impartial, which leaves the Congressional investigations to finish the job. And as House Democrats admitted, they know they need help.
As Schiff explained, this will be an independent body that’s staffed full-time and will possess resources that aren’t available to an already overloaded Congress. The commission will operate with a single-minded focus and hold the expertise that Congress lacks on related subjects like hacking. And they’ll be able to make independent decisions regarding Jeff Sessions’ recusal, along with determining whether the FBI is still even capable of conducting its own impartial investigation after Comey’s departure.
Whether or not this independent commission happens remains to be seen. The Dems will need substantial interest from their Republican counterparts to bring a vote on the bill, and The Hill notes that current scheduling won’t allow a vote until at least July. However, Paul Ryan could bump that schedule up, and growing pressure from all sides may make that happen.
(Via PBS News Hour)