For the first time since Democrats took control of the House last year, President Trump’s effort to stonewall congressional efforts at oversight have begun to show some cracks.
On Thursday, a former State Department official set off a firestorm when he defied the White House’s no-cooperation strategy and provided Congress with text messages detailing the administration’s effort to leverage a meeting with Trump to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to launch investigations into the U.S. president’s political rivals.
And House Democrats are expected to interview other critical witnesses this week as they try to build a case for impeaching Trump over his alleged willingness to seek the help of a foreign leader for his own political gain.
But these rare triumphs are seen as fleeting even by Democrats and serve as a stark reminder of how much the administration has run roughshod over Congress, prompting concerns among constitutional experts and lawmakers that Trump’s hostile stance toward congressional oversight is undermining the separation of powers in a way that could have long-term implications for democracy.

Still, the worse it gets, the more people in the administration are going to talk, whether it’s to reporters or to investigators.

* Tanya Snyder, Tucker Doherty, and Arren Kimbel-Sannit report on some run-of-the-mill, everyday Trump administration corruption:

In her first 14 months as Transportation secretary, Elaine Chao met with officials from Kentucky, which her husband Mitch McConnell represents in the Senate, vastly more often than those from any other state.
In all, 25 percent of Chao’s scheduled meetings with local officials of any state from January 2017 to March 2018 were with Kentuckians, who make up only about 1.3 percent of the U.S. population. The next closest were Indiana and Georgia, with 6 percent of meetings each, according to Chao’s calendar records, the only ones that have been made public.
At least five of Chao’s 18 meetings with local Kentuckians were requested in emails from McConnell staffers, who alerted Chao’s staffers which of the officials were “friends” or “loyal supporters,” according to records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The emails from McConnell’s office to Chao’s staff sometimes included details about projects that participants wanted to discuss with the secretary, or to ask her for special favors. Some of the officials who met with Chao had active grant applications before the Department of Transportation through competitive programs and the emails indicate that the meetings sometimes involved the exchange of information about grants and opportunities for the officials to plead their case directly before Chao.

Look, if you can’t use your cabinet department to advance the political interests of your husband, what’s the point of public service?

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