In remarks to reporters on Tuesday, President Trump said there was little chance that the White House would cooperate with the voluminous document requests coming from the House Judiciary Committee. While the committee, under the leadership of Chairman Jerrold Nadler, has demanded access to documents pertaining to more than 80 of the president’s associates, Trump said he would follow the precedent of his predecessor and simply ignore Nadler’s witch hunt.
“It’s a disgrace to our country,” Trump said of the House investigations. “I’m not surprised that it’s happening. Basically, they’ve started the campaign. So the campaign begins. Instead of doing infrastructure, instead of doing health care, instead of doing so many things that they should be doing, they want to play games.
“President Obama, from what they tell me, was under a similar kind of a thing,” continued Trump. “They didn’t give one letter. They didn’t do anything. They didn’t give one letter of the requests. Many requests were made. They didn’t give a letter.”
Trump’s assertion that the Obama administration refused to cooperate with congressional investigations is not altogether wrong, though it did get some predictable blowback from members of that administration.
“If there was no cooperation, how was there material for seven Benghazi investigations?” one official asked.
Former Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz agreed, tweeting, “From 2011 – 2016 the Obama White House produced hundreds of thousands of documents to Congress on Solyndra, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards rule, Deep Water Horizon spill, ACA (Affordable Care Act), ACA website, Clean Water Rule, and Ft Hood shooting.”
This is of course entirely beside the point. One, none of these investigations were aimed at discrediting and impeaching Obama. Two, Obama only complied with some of these requests after a considerable period of delay. In at least one case – the Fast and the Furious issue – the White House did not hand over documents until forced to do so by court order. Even then, many of the most important documents were hidden from Congress using Obama’s claim of executive privilege.
These protests also ignore the fact that the Trump White House has also cooperated with plenty of investigations over the last two years. Most specifically, they have cooperated with investigations into the campaign’s supposed “collusion” with Russia. These investigations have already been completed. Jerrold Nadler and Elijah Cummings and Adam Schiff want to run them all over again for the sole purpose of keeping the political witch hunt alive. There’s no reason in the world why Trump should aid them in this ploy.