House Democrats have kicked off an all-out investigation into Donald Trump’s businesses, entities, associates and family members. Speaking to Sputnik, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel shed light on the Democrats’ rationale, prospects of the probe and how it could affect both Donald Trump and Democrats in the 2020 race.
On 4 March the House Judiciary Committee sent letters to 81 people and entities in an effort to expose potential misdeed on the part of the US president ahead of the anticipated conclusions by Special Counsel Robert Mueller who has been digging into Donald Trump since 2017.
Commenting on the move, spearheaded by congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff, Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel presumed that “one reason may be that lawyers for the US president and for other Mueller targets are making progress attacking the validity of the Mueller probe and of its approach”.
“Knowing that the ‘mainstream’ media is solidly anti-Trump, Democrats must believe they may gain more from expanding and prolonging their Mueller ‘witch hunt’ by plowing old ground in numerous legislative committees,” the analyst suggested.
House Dems Offensive on Trump Comes as No Surprise
However, according to Ortel, the Democrats’ latest initiative is no surprise. He called attention to Mollie Hemingway’s op-ed published in The Federalist on 7 November 2018 on the heels of the US midterm elections.
“Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., revealed plans for House Democrats to investigate and impeach Justice Brett Kavanaugh for alleged perjury and investigate and impeach President Donald Trump for alleged treasonous collusion with Russia”, she wrote shedding light on the supposed strategy.
Shortly before Nadler’s Monday announcement of the new probe into Trump, the US president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on 27 February 2019, voicing a number of anti-Trump accusations.
The Wall Street analyst underscored that “one distinctive principle enshrined in our Constitution and in key legal precedents is that all Americans are ‘presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law’. This normally means that judicial resources in the United States are rationed investigating crimes, not persons”.
“Things may change, but well before Cohen’s testimony, much evidence already available in the public domain suggests that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may have incorrectly launched the investigations under way by Special Counsel Mueller into the Trump campaign for ‘colluding’ (not a crime) with ‘Russia’, and for ‘obstructing justice’,” Ortel said.
The analyst underscored that soon the public would see output from the Mueller team and documents that President Trump may declassify.
“This information should offer important context for those of us who care to engage upon facts, rather than trade in hearsay observations from Cohen, who has already been convicted for lying under oath and who has much to gain from bending to wills of Mueller and his associate”, he stressed.
‘Everyone Should Refuse, When Subpoenaed Should Take the Fifth’
Commenting on the prospects of the recent all-out inquiry, Ortel suggested that many may “refuse to cooperate speedily, or possibly at all”.
“Recent named targets of Congressman Nadler would be wise to resist getting sucked into never-ending perjury traps in my opinion (remember I am not a lawyer)”, he presumed.
He cited former US Attorney Joe Di Genova who said that “everyone should refuse, and when they are subpoenaed they should all take the Fifth [amendment], because this is a perjury trap, this is not a legitimate investigation, it is a fishing expedition”.
“President Trump warned repeatedly that attacking the Trump family and his businesses is a “red line” that will lead to vigorous counter-punching”, Ortel emphasised.
Still, the Wall Street analyst pointed out that he does “fault President Trump for failing to place his and his extended family assets in trust before assuming office on 20 January 2017”.
He added that “while it is certainly reasonable for Congress and for other regulators to consider conflicts of interest, I do not believe that [Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] Adam Schiff presently holds the upper hand in looming contests with the President and his team”.
“Democrats are not helping themselves so far, but who knows exactly what Mueller and others may reveal in coming days, weeks, and months”, Ortel said.
Witch Hunt Tactics Against Trump May Backfire on Dems
“Experienced Democratic Party hands including David Axelrod are cautioning against the latest expansion in ‘witch hunt’ tactics against Team Trump, warning that Democrats likely are overplaying a weak hand in ways that may backfire at the ballot box in November 2020”, the investigative journalist noted.
Ortel cited investigative reporter Sara Carter’s op-ed, titled “Democrats Search For A Crime To Punish Trump And Americans Who Voted For Him”: “[She] makes a case against Democratic tactics that is already resonating with American voters who hold Congress in pitifully low esteem”, the analyst remarked.
According to the Wall Street analyst, Trump’s 2020 prospects are dependent on the overall economic situation rather than the Democrats’ efforts to throw a wrench into his gears: “President Trump’s re-election outcome hinges upon whether economic and investment prospects appear bright, credibly, some twenty months from now”.
“Absent a capital markets crash back below trading levels set in November 2016, and absent geo-political reversals that certainly are possible, no announced or flirting Democrats appear strong enough to limit President Trump to one term. Still, things do change”, he said.
As for Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she will not take part in the 2020 presidential race, Ortel noted that “it would seem that [she] has trouble making up her mind and/or from getting her true message out — she has already walked back the suggestion that she would not run in 2020”.
Although Hillary Clinton said that she would not run, she stressed that she was “going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what [she] believe[s]”.