Top intel Democrat reveals how Republicans' efforts to obstruct the Mueller probe could blow up in their faces
Throughout much of their time in charge of the House of Representatives during President Donald Trump's first two years in office, Republicans bent over backward trying to impede and undermine the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and its ties to the Trump campaign.
These efforts included norm-breaking requests for document and information about an ongoing investigation and about the closed Hillary Clinton email probe that were frequently, though not completely, successful. Much of this information has become public and the released in a manner to suggest that it implicates the bureau in wrongdoing against the president or on behalf of the FBI, even when these claims are largely spurious.
But now, with the Democrats in charge in the House, Republicans may come to regret all that.
For valiant as their efforts were to cover up the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe is still barreling forward. Eventually, it will come to a close, and decisions will be made about how to handle Mueller's unreleased discoveries.
If Mueller's most damaging information isn't initially made public — as I explained previously is a real possibility — Democrats may use the GOP's playbook to uncover it, as House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) explained.
“For the last two years, the Justice Department at the request of the GOP, has been turning maybe hundreds of thousands of pages of discovery in the Clinton email investigation to the Congress," Schiff told CNN's Manu Raju Thursday. "And I said you're setting a precedent here.”
He continued: "And you better not expect that if the House changes hands and Democrats are in the majority, that you're going to be able to deny us information on the Mueller investigation. ... Certainly in my view they're in no position to say no to Mueller's report."
Given the president's unique position at the head of the executive branch and the unknown allegiances of the man who is likely to become the next attorney general, it's far from clear what information will be released from the probe. When and if Democrats request information from the Justice Department about the Mueller investigation — or about the investigation into the president's activities by the Southern District of New York, or any other body investigating him — Republicans are certain to holler.
But because of their own actions, the procedural precedent for these requests has already been laid.