This story in the New Yorker sounds so absurd that your first thought is likely that it can’t be true, that it must be actual fake news.
But the New Yorker ran it like as a legit piece and, honestly, with the way Democrats have threatened to go after Trump, it sounds like it could be true.
Here’s the main part:
NEW YORKER – Congressional committees, like the priorities of the politicians who run them, change with the times. On Wednesday morning, Eliot Engel, the Democratic congressman from New York who has just taken over the chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sank into an oversized leather chair in his office and told me that his first act as chairman will be to create a new subcommittee devoted to investigating President Trump.
After the 9/11 attacks, Engel’s predecessors on Foreign Affairs set up a new terrorism subcommittee, which underscored America’s sudden, obsessive focus on countering such threats. It is telling that this is the subcommittee that Engel will now eliminate in favor of his new investigative panel. There “wasn’t a great clamor” to keep the terrorism panel, Engel told me, whereas there is no end to the Trump foreign-policy scandals that his members are pushing to investigate. “We just thought, if we’re going to do something relevant in this era where Congress is going to reassert itself, where there are so many questionable activities of this Administration vis-à-vis foreign policy, that it made sense to have this.” Trump, in other words, is a bigger threat than terrorism. At least for now.
Foreign Affairs is not exactly an investigative sort of committee. In a different political moment, Engel’s top priority might be to hold hearings on the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine, or China’s increasingly hostile posture toward its neighbors, or the failures of American strategy in Afghanistan. Engel, who has represented the Bronx and parts of Westchester County in Congress since the late nineteen-eighties, is a relatively hawkish Democrat. He supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, though he later regretted it, and has long focussed on human rights and U.S. policy toward its neighbors in the Western Hemisphere.
But this is not the moment for such subjects. Those international crises will undoubtedly soon come up in Engel’s committee. They will not, however, top its agenda, which will be dominated, as so many other areas of our public life now are, by President Trump’s uniquely chaotic and unsettling approach to the rest of the world. Engel told me that he sees Trump as a practitioner of “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants diplomacy” whose erratic approach to foreign policy escaped any real accountability during the past two years of Republican “rubber stamp” rule on Capitol Hill.
I asked for a list of what Engel proposed to investigate. It was long, although, he assured me, by no means exhaustive, since the subcommittee’s chair and membership have not yet been finalized. No matter who holds the gavel, the investigation is certain to start with the question of what, exactly, Trump agreed to in his private meeting with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, last summer. “It’s been many months since Helsinki, and we still don’t know what Putin and Trump talked about,” Engel said. He also pledged to look at “the business interests of the President” and the extent to which Trump’s financial dealings with places such as Russia and the Middle East have “affected what he’s done in foreign policy.”
If this is true, then it is exactly the kind of thing that will get Trump re-elected and the Democrats kicked out of the House again. Why? Because it’s not only stupid, it’s offensive to suggest that Trump is a bigger threat to this nation that terrorism and to create a subcommittee on investigating him.
I’d like to think many in this country, though they don’t agree with Trump’s politics, wouldn’t agree with this absurd level of harassment of Trump. I say I’d like to think this because I haven’t done a poll. But it just seems to me that most of America, which doesn’t live in the DC bubble, isn’t suffering from the levels of Trump Derangement Syndrome that exist in the offices of Democrats in the House.
The only thing I do worry about is Trump responding to these kind of relentless attacks. If he plays his cards right then the American people will more than likely be sympathetic of him with this kind of onslaught. But he has a history of fighting back too hard and in an ugly way and the Democrats are probably counting on that. He needs to keep himself at least somewhat measured during all of this and not alienate the people who would have his back in 2 years.