There are scandal-plagued presidencies and then there is the Trump administration, with a record of alleged corruption and malfeasance so long that it simply would not do to have administration officials appearing before congressional panels just every now and again.
A Democratic lawmaker said that the rot is so deep in the current administration that he plans to create a subcommittee dedicated entirely to investigating Trump and his government.
The New Yorker reports that Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) who has just taken over the chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said this week that his first act as chairman will be to create a new subcommittee devoted to investigating the president.
“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,” Engel told The New Yorker.
Engel has represented the Bronx and parts of Westchester County in Congress since the late 1980. Although there is no shortage of domestic scandals, Trump has given Engel plenty to work with.
From the lawmaker’s new perch as the chairman of the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee, the issues under scrutiny will include the president’s numerous international crises, entanglements, and his “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants diplomacy.”
Engel also told The New Yorker that he would look at “the business interests of the president,” and the abrupt resignation last month of Defense Secretary James Mattis. Another area of inquiry is Trump’s financial dealings with places such as Russia and the Middle East, and how they have “affected what he’s done in foreign policy.”
“It’s incumbent upon us to look” at the Trump family’s pursuit of business deals with Middle Eastern figures who are also central to president’s foreign policy priorities, Engel said.
But the congressman said topping his agenda is the mystery that has captivated Washington for months: what did Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump agree to during their private, tete-a-tete in Helsinki last summer.
“It’s been many months since Helsinki, and we still don’t know what Putin and Trump talked about,” Engel said.