As President Donald Trump goes to Capitol Hill tonight for his first address to a Joint Session of Congress, both parties fully expect him to again sound the call for action on a repeal of the Obama health law, though GOP lawmakers in Congress admit they still don’t have an internal agreement on how best to replace the Obama health law.
Back from a ten day break, the U.S. Senate on Monday evening easily approved President Donald Trump’s nominee for Commerce Secretary, but Democrats again made clear they would not allow swift action on several other Trump Cabinet nominees, as Republicans again protested the extended delays.
The accounting firm responsible for tallying Oscar votes and keeping up with envelopes containing the winners has apologized for the Best Picture gaffe at the end of Sunday’s Academy Awards, but President Donald Trump believes the mix-up was actually about him.
The race for President came to Capitol Hill with a rush on Thursday, as the House Oversight Committee began three days of hearings about the battle to get records from the State Department about Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State.
As one might easily predict, the battle lines were clear – as Republicans pressed for answers about emails dealing with Clinton, while Democrats charged this was nothing more than an effort to stop Clinton from winning in November.
“This whole attempt was to rip down Hillary Clinton and ruin her reputation; that’s what this was all about,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA).
“This is an attack – an attack on Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for President of the United States,” argued Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
But for Republicans, this hearing with State Department officials was yet another mind-boggling piece of evidence about what they see as a lack of transparency from the State Department surrounding Clinton’s email server and her time as Secretary of State.
“I would like to see Hillary Clinton’s calendars,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. “When you can you provide that to me?”
“I will find the time and get back to you,” said the State Department’s Patrick Kennedy, as GOP lawmakers got little from the hearing in terms of insight into their probe of Clinton, her email server, and how the State Department deals with requests for records from Congress and the public.
“Hillary Clinton gets treated different than anybody else,” fumed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), as he also squeezed little out of the panel of State Department witnesses.
The lack of answers left others aggravated on the GOP side as well.
“This is the reason for this hearing – the sloppiness, the messiness, and the ability for a Secretary of State to do something that shouldn’t have been done,” said Rep. Tim Wallberg (R-MI).
“I want to know about the destruction – the hammering of the blackberries,” said Rep. John Mica (R-FL), who didn’t get any answers from officials who deal with Freedom of Information Act requests.
“Secretary Clinton said her email arrangement was approved by the State Department, but it was not,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
“The Secretary had a choice,” said Chairman Chaffetz.
“She chose to not abide by the rules of the State Department.”
It’s not the end of this political battle, as Republicans will hold more hearings before the Congress goes home for the elections.
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.
A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.