WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders Wednesday announced their intention to force a vote to establish an independent commission to probe Russian meddling into U.S. elections.
“Our colleagues are upstairs on the House floor signing a discharge petition calling upon the Congress to establish an independent commission to investigate the relationship of the White House with Russia and Russia’s involvement in our election. We need more than simply concerned the Congress to act,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley said to reporters Wednesday.
“We need Speaker Ryan to act. We look to our colleagues like Rep. [Adam] Schiff. You need to put the American people first and politics last,” Crowley added.
The bill, co-sponsored by Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings and California Democratic Rep. Eric Swallwell would establish an independent panel styled after the 9/11 Commission and would be composed of members from both parties, as well as a full-time staff.
“House Republicans have shown repeatedly that they refuse to conduct credible robust oversight over this president,” Cummings told reporters.
Cummings went on, “They do as little as humanly possible just to claim that they’re doing something. Think about this. The president fired the director of the FBI, because he was becoming increasingly engaged over the accelerating investigation into his campaign and its ties to Russia. He even admitted this on national TV. Yet two of the committees of jurisdiction the House Oversight Committee and the House Judiciary Committee — they’re not even scheduled a hearing on this unprecedented action.”
Although Democrats support for the discharge petition, 23 Republican members will have to cross the aisle and support the petition.
Former Indiana Republican Rep. David McIntosh, a member of the Federalist Society, addressed the legality of President Trump’s reportedly asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop the Michael Flynn probe.
“President Trump acted appropriately if he gave guidance to Director Comey on an investigation,” McIntosh said an an event in Washington Wednesday. “It is important for us to step back and remember that, under the Constitution, the President has the authority and power to enforce the laws. There’s nothing in the Constitution about an FBI Director. The FBI director reports to the President and it is the President’s decision to delegate authority on investigations.”
“In delegating that authority, Presidents have wisely chosen to insulate the FBI from political interference. But the President still has the power and authority to direct the FBI how to do their job. Congress, in its critiques of the Executive Branch, should not overstep and try to direct or limit the President’s legitimate exercise of his Article 2 powers.”
Editor’s note: This article previously reported what Democrats said: that Rep. Justin Amash has signed on to the petition. A spokesman says he has not, even though he has sponsored a bill to establish an independent commission.