California representative Devin Nunes’s late-night jaunt to the White House to swap information pertaining to the Russia investigation may not have been the first sign that a Republican Congress had no intention of holding Donald Trump accountable, but it was certainly the starkest. For two years, G.O.P. committee chairs have shielded the president, refusing to launch investigations into things like his tax returns or his sticky business ties, or even whether his trade war can be justified on “national security” grounds. Unsurprisingly, Representatives Elijah Cummings, Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters, and Richard Neal—who will chair the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, the Financial Services Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee, respectively—see things differently. Most have said they will investigate the president—a turn of events that has sent liberals into paroxysms of delight and put Trump on the defensive. Even so, they will be forced to weigh the risks of appearing overzealous. As the Clinton era demonstrated, demanding answers of the president does not always sit well with the public.
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