Donald Trump has been trying to shut down or discredit the Russia investigation since before it began. Of course, after it began, and then intensified, Trump has only stepped up his attempts to shut it down. He’s threatened and fired people and asked (begged) others to make it all stop.
Now, in Congress, Trump ally and fellow Republican Ron DeSantis (R-Fl) seems to be doing the President’s bidding. DeSantis is putting up an amendment in a larger spending package that would do two things. First, it would limit Bob Mueller’s investigation to look at nothing before Trump announced his candidacy in June of 2015. Second, it would completely defund (thus shutting down) the investigation after six months of the bill’s passage.
Both parts are more than interesting. The first part, about not allowing any inquiry before Trump announced his candidacy is curious as anyone familiar with the investigation knows that a big part of it is how Russia may have used financial leverage against Trump and/or his associates. In fact, just yesterday, The Washington Post reported about how Trump was seeking to build a “Trump Tower” in Moscow. That deal was being negotiated after Trump began his Presidential run but his history of trying to get a building with his name in gold letters out front has literally been happening for decades. DeSantis’s legislation would squelch all of those inquiries along with his history of being financed by the Russians. Something his son Eric bragged about in 2014. Donald Jr. also bragged about how hooked up they were with Russian money in 2008.
The second part’s timing is pretty amazing (as Trump would say) as well. Just in time for the election season where the entire House of Representatives is up for election along with many Senators. The “shutdown” date, if the bill passed in September, would be some time in March of 2018, just as things would be heating up for the midterm races. If this scheme is successful, Trump and the GOP will surely go around the country saying “the investigation is over, nothing to see here” ignoring the fact that it would only be over because they killed it.
Another report, from Newsweek, suggests that the amendment’s wording could shut the investigation down as early as November:
Rosenstein appointed Mueller on May 17 and if DeSantis’s amendment gets approved the investigation would thus end sometime in November.
The Newsweek article also suggests that this might be a “countermeasure” to a bi-partisan bill introduced by four Senators to protect Mueller from Trump trying to fire him if the heat gets to be too much for him:
DeSantis’s effort could be a sort of countermeasure to that of four U.S. senators—two Democrats and two Republicans. Released earlier this month, their bipartisan proposals would limit the executive branch’s power to fire a special counsel. While the proposals differ slightly, both essentially call for a federal review of such a dismissal.
Ever since Trump admitted he fired former FBI Director James Comey because of the Trump-Russia investigation—as well as his repeated public berating of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself—there have been fears the president would find a way to can Mueller.
DeSantis’s amendment comes as details about connections between Trump’s campaign and Russia’s meddling in last year’s election leak to the media and as Trump’s approval rating slips.
Of course, the ultimate irony/hypocrisy is how DeSantis nor any Republican never asked, let alone proposed legislation to shut down any investigation into Hillary Clinton — nor did they ever seek to limit its scope or time.
DeSantis was one of the early Republicans to endorse Trump before the GOP convention last summer.
Featured image via floridapolitics.com