Monday, June 24, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He said Congress wasn't allowed to ask questions about a member of his administration accused of committing crimes on his behalf.

Trump's senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, has repeatedly and flagrantly violated the Hatch Act, according to the government official in charge of investigating such matters. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using government resources to conduct political campaigns.

Kerner is a Trump appointee. The United States Office of Special Counsel is a permanent agency of the government charged with enforcing the Hatch Act and various other laws. It is not related to the special counsel that investigated the Russian efforts to help Trump get elected.

Trump rejected Kerner's recommendation that Conway be fired, saying that she was "loyal" to him.

Today, the Trump administration told the House Oversight Committee that it would block Conway from appearing to testify about those alleged crimes. (Conway could invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, but Trump may be concerned that she would be asked questions about other things she'd seen or done.) Conway joins a very, very long list of witnesses to Trump's behavior in office that Trump has forbidden from speaking to Congress.

Why should I care about this?

  • Presidents are not above the law.
  • Congress has a duty to exercise oversight over the executive branch.
  • Upholding the rule of law is more important than rewarding personal "loyalty."