By Robert A. Vella
Overshadowing the Republican National Convention this week are violent protests which have turned deadly in Kenosha, Wisconsin (including fatal shootings, police crackdowns, national guard deployments, vigilante justice, outside agitators, and reports of agent provocateurs inciting violence) after police shot an unarmed black man seven times in the back right in front of his children, a powerful hurricane bearing-down on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast, rising tensions in Europe over Belarus and the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, some bad climate change news from Antarctica, more trouble stirring over corruption by Donald Trump and his administration, and the latest coronavirus pandemic developments.
Under normal circumstances, political speeches should be judged on their content. And by this metric, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks to the Republican National Convention were a mess.
The Kansas Republican claimed Donald Trump had strengthened NATO, which was the opposite of the truth. Pompeo insisted Trump’s failed policy toward North Korea was a success, which was pitifully untrue. The cabinet secretary said the president “held China accountable for covering up the China virus,” which was amusing, given Trump’s praise for China’s “transparency” on the matter.
Perhaps my personal favorite was Pompeo’s willingness to boast that Ukraine now has “defensive weapon systems” — systems Trump was impeached over after the president tried to leverage the supplies as part of an illegal extortion scheme.
But as important as these errors of fact and judgment were, the content of the secretary’s speech was only a small part of a much larger problem. NBC News reported late yesterday that the Republican’s convention speech is now under investigation on Capitol Hill — and for good reason.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subpanel on oversight informed the State Department of the inquiry in a letter obtained by NBC News after the committee obtained internal State Department legal guidance that explicitly prohibited Senate-confirmed presidential appointees from even attending political conventions. The subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, says that the speech is not only “highly unusual and likely unprecedented” but that “it appears that it may also be illegal.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on Wednesday renewed its subpoena to Deutsche Bank AG for President Donald Trump’s financial records so that it would fall in line with a related ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The Committee’s subpoena, as amended, clearly satisfies the Court’s new legal test for evaluating Congress’s need for the President’s personal information,” the panel’s chairman, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, said in a statement.
The House Intelligence Committee has investigated whether the Republican president’s dealings left him vulnerable to the influence of foreign individuals or governments. The House Financial Services Committee has examined possible money laundering in U.S. property deals involving Trump.