Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Fix | Analysis

Trump says Democrats investigating him is ‘PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT.’ He’s called for at least 18 investigations of his opponents.

February 7, 2019 at 10:17 AM

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President Trump said the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), is launching investigations to "build a name for himself." (The Washington Post)

President Trump used his State of the Union address to urge House Democrats not to investigate him. On Wednesday, they bucked — hard. The new House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), outlined a wide-ranging probe that includes Trump’s business, family and whether he might be compromised by foreign actors.

On Thursday morning, Trump lashed out.

“He is going to be looking at every aspect of my life, both financial and personal, even though there is no reason to be doing so,” Trump tweeted. “Never happened before! Unlimited Presidential Harassment. … The Dems and their committees are going ‘nuts.’ "

He added later:

But as with many things Trump, his past comments don’t exactly square with his current posture. Over the years, Trump has made a habit of calling for investigations into major — and some minor — controversies involving his political opponents.

Trump would argue that these investigations were warranted and that the ones of him are not. But that’s a tough argument for two reasons: First, we have already seen several high-profile guilty pleas and convictions in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia probe, along with many hints of big potential future findings. And second, Trump has often called for investigations based on innuendo, suspicion and specious evidence.

No example is better than Trump’s suggestions that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wasn’t born in the United States, which Trump repeatedly said warranted probing. But there are many more.

Let’s run through 18 of them:

1. Birtherism

2. Benghazi

3. Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups

4. Fast and Furious

5. Obama’s national security leaks

(In this case, there was an investigation, but Trump wanted an independent counsel.)

6. Democrats for collusion and obstruction

June 8, 2018: “Now, the Democrats have had massive collusion, massive obstruction, and they should be investigated.”

7. Former FBI director James B. Comey

Via the New York Times in November: “President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation.”

8. Former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe

9. Peter Strzok and others at the FBI

10. The writer of the anonymous New York Times op-ed

Sept. 7, 2018: "I would say [then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions] should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security.”

11, 12, 13 and 14. Missing Democratic National Committee server, Clinton/Uranium One, Imran Awan, John Podesta

15. Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton’s meeting on the tarmac

16. The investigation of Hillary Clinton

Oct. 11, 2016: “We have to investigate Hillary Clinton, and we have to investigate the investigation.” (He said some version of this repeatedly in October 2016.)

17. Solyndra

Feb. 1, 2012: “Two of Obama’s money bundlers are directly linked to Solyndra. They’ve got to look into it. It is a mess.”

18. Former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman (D)


Aaron Blake is senior political reporter, writing for The Fix. A Minnesota native, he has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Hill newspaper.

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