How to keep a Special Counsel from getting info he needs to indict Republicans for lying to Congress? Easy: keep the new Dem-controlled House Committee that has the goods from commencing operations by not assigning any Republican representatives to it.
Mueller could have all transcripts from all witnesses by Wednesday if the GOP would appoint the members by Monday, according to a Dem aide. But so far, not a single one has been named.
The House Intelligence Committee can't send testimony transcripts to Robert Mueller until they have a full set of members. So far, Republicans are not naming any members to the Intelligence Committee. They managed it for 23 other committees, but… pic.twitter.com/hyQRN0LILh
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2019
Tweet text: The House Intelligence Committee can’t send testimony transcripts to Robert Mueller until they have a full set of members. So far, Republicans are not naming any members to the Intelligence Committee. They managed it for 23 other committees, but…
Here’s something to watch. We’ve already got two people indicted for felonies for lying to House Intelligence: Cohen and Stone. Mueller had to obtain both of their transcripts from the House Intelligence Committee before he could file those charges. Is House Intelligence sending Mueller anybody else’s transcripts?
The thing to watch here is that it turns out they actually can’t. They can’t until they have the Intelligence Committee up and running, and they cannot do that until they have a full list of members for the Intelligence Committee. And so far, Republicans are not naming any members for the Intelligence Committee.
Really? [See the table above.] By our count Republicans have managed to name members for 23 different committees, everything from Agriculture to Appropriations to Veterans’ Affairs to the Joint Committee on the Library. But thus far they have not named anyone for the Intelligence Committee. Which means the Intelligence Committee cannot act at all, including to send Mueller the transcripts of further witnesses who may have lied to them.
A Democratic committee aide tells us tonight that if Republicans finally get around to naming people to the Intelligence Committee, if they were able to do that by Monday, Mueller could have all the transcripts from all of the House Intelligence witnesses by Wednesday. Schiff apparently really means it that it will be their first order of business, but the Republicans can stop him from doing it anyway, as long as they won’t allow him to conduct any business, by not giving him any Republicans members for his Committee. That’s called “small ball.”
So is it mere coincidence that GOPers consider the Joint Committee on the Library (whatever the heck they do*) so gosh-darned important that they’ve populated their almost-half of it… but not Intelligence, which, during and after multiple democracy-preserving investigations by the Intelligence Community, is just a wee bit important? Mere chance that House Intel happens to be one of four out of 26 committees they haven’t assigned members to? (No Repubs on the House Ethics Committee is no big surprise. Climate Crisis also.)
No, I think it’s the GOP finding yet another way to break the rules so as to protect their criminals and maintain power by hindering the rule of law. They take every imaginable opportunity they can find.
These are not the actions of innocent people. If they are not individual criminals with roles within a criminal enterprise, they are at the very least accomplices.
Update: The Daily Beast has more:
It’s not clear what the holdup is. “That will be announced when it is ready,” said Matt Sparks, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who did not address the reasons for the delay. A representative for Nunes – who does not pick the membership – did not respond to Daily Beast inquiries.
Devin Nunes is apparently automatically on the Committee as former Chair. It’ll be great to watch him squirm while Dems grill all those witnesses he refused to call.
Thus far, Democrats on the panel are not accusing the House GOP of deliberately dragging its feet on the committee appointments. Some Democrats are hopeful the GOP will name its roster by next week. But, a Democratic committee aide said, “There is an urgency in getting all of our transcripts to Mueller that we cannot ignore.”
“We’re ready to get going,” Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat on the panel, told The Daily Beast. “We are hopeful those appointments will be made early next week, and as soon as they are, we will get to work.”