The powerful weapon House Republicans handed Democrats

The powerful weapon House Republicans handed Democrats
House of Representatives (Image: YouTube screen grab)

[Ed. – Treating politics as a chess match has its consequences for both major parties.]

Democrats eager to investigate the Trump administration if they seize the House would have the GOP to thank for one of their most potent tools — a sweeping subpoena authority that Democratic lawmakers denounced as an abusive power grab three years ago.

House Republicans changed the rules in 2015 to allow many of their committee chairmen to issue subpoenas without consulting the minority party, overriding Democrats objections that likened the tactic to something out of the McCarthy era.

Now the weapon that the GOP wielded dozens of times against President Barack Obama’s agencies could allow Democrats to bombard President Donald Trump’s most controversial appointees with demands for information. And many Democrats are itching to use it.

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“The Republicans have set the standard and, by God, we’re going to emulate that standard,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told POLITICO.

Oversight would be one of the few concrete goals that Democrats could accomplish with control of only one chamber of Congress and Trump still in the White House. They have a long list of potential targets, including likely demands for Trump’s tax returns and probes into Cabinet members such as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

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