House Democrats may be worried that investigating Donald Trump’s offspring will get “real personal, real fast” and “risks backfiring,” in the words of Rep. Gerry Connolly, but the Trumps aren’t exactly giving Democrats any choice—at least not if they’re serious about investigating the things that need to be investigated. That worry is the premise of a Politico article that nonetheless provides reminder after reminder of just why Trump’s family faces some questions. We know it’s also the attack Trump will level at any attempt to find out what role his kids have had in his campaign and administration. But Trump is going to attack any investigation on some grounds, and that can’t stop Democrats from following legitimate questions. Even if the media will play along with Trump’s attacks, the answer is to punch back, not to cower.
With Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner serving as senior White House advisers—and having questionable security clearances—Trump’s nepotism puts his daughter and son-in-law into the realm of normal congressional oversight. And Don Jr.? Please! The Trump Tower Russia meeting, the signatures on checks to Michael Cohen … Don Jr.’s fingerprints are all over some of the sketchiest parts of the 2016 campaign. Of course they’ve had to be included in corruption and collusion investigations.
So, sure, it’s reasonable of Democrats to wish they could leave the Trump offspring to prosecutors—but they can’t. Because of those security clearances. Because senior White House advisers who get dodgy security clearances after repeatedly lying on their official disclosures are normally subject to congressional oversight. Because of that Trump Tower meeting. Because “Don Jr. is right in the middle of all of this,” as Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi put it. “In his case, he is a material witness.”
It’s not like Democrats are demanding documents from Tiffany (remember her?) or Barron Trump! Three of Donald’s fully adult children have made themselves legitimate, even central, parts of major ongoing investigations, and it would be malpractice to pretend that’s not the case.