That’s the headline of a Washington Post story (print edition) about the clash between the White House and House Democrats over the latters’ investigations of the former. The article notes that President Trump “is blocking more than 20 separate Democratic inquiries.” According to the Post, this “amount[s] to what many experts call the most expansive White House obstruction effort in decades.
The Post’s claim of obstruction is dishonest in at least some cases. It says that William Barr “has blocked Justice Department official John Gore from appearing for subpoenaed testimony on the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.” The Post neglects to inform its readers that the administration is fine with having Gore testify, insisting only that he have a lawyer with him, a condition Democrats have rejected.
Moreover, the Post has the big picture backwards. It is House Democrats, having launched more than 20 separate investigations of the president, including many relating to his personal and business affairs (and those of family members), who are waging “all-out war” against Trump. They are engaged in the most expansive harassment campaign against a president in decades, and probably ever.
It’s natural — a matter of simple math — that the more investigations the House launches against a president, the more instances of resistance it will encounter. That’s especially true when House committees insist on unreasonable conditions like refusing to let witnesses bring White House lawyers with them.
Moreover, at some point any self-respecting White House will conclude that the House is acting in bad faith. At that point, the pattern of harassment will be countered by a pattern of resistance.
That’s what has happened here. The Democrats’ all-out war on Trump has resulted in an all-out defensive war by the president.
The Post doesn’t consider that this might be the case. It compares the extent of the Trump administration’s non-cooperation with that of the Obama administration’s (though it never quantifies the latter), but makes no attempt to compare the extent, scope, and nature of the probes launched against the two presidents.
The Post does, at least, quote Sen. Lindsey Graham. He sums up the situation nicely:
Oversight’s one thing. Revenge is another.
House Democrats are under pressure from their left-wing base to impeach President Trump. Leadership doesn’t seem eager to do so because of the political risk involved.
Hoping to keep the base happy, House Dems offer it an all-out harassment campaign against Trump, instead of impeachment (at least for now). This approach may make political sense, but that doesn’t mean Trump has to play along.
He shouldn’t allow himself to become a punching bag, and it’s quite clear that he will not.