By Jan Worth-Nelson
Calling for “full public release” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Congressman Dan Kildee said today regardless of what happens he hopes Republican leaders “stand with the American people” and hold the president accountable, instead of acting like “full-time employees of the Trump organization.”
“I want to see everything,” he said, indicating he would pursue oversight of Donald Trump’s activities in line with a “fundamental obligation to make sure there’s daylight” for the public.
“This is not a private interest. This is not some private enterprise. This is not Trump Incorporated. This is the government of the United States of America. He’s the president of the United States and the people of this country have a right to know what the president is doing,” he said.
“Our default position, our initial assumption should be that this is information into the public’s interest,” he said. “How and when that information is released is is something we’ll have to work through.
“The Mueller report is going to provide a window into what [Trump’s] interests might be and how he has operated this enterprise — What that leads to, I’m not prejudging that. I’ll let the facts as they’re presented guide us. But I’m not taking any possibilities off the table. I’ll do anything I can to hold him accountable.”
Kildee’s remarks came following a roundtable on Social Security issues with about 35 local leaders in the Ferris Wheel Building in downtown Flint.
He added anything short of a full public release would damage the credibility of the process.
“This has been a very public process,” he said. “Unless I can be convinced that there’s some overarching national public interest in some of the information redacted or somehow withheld–that’s going to be a very high bar. I don’t know what that could be.”
Acknowledging that what happens depends on the responses of GOP representatives, particularly in the Senate, Kildee said, “There have been these moments when Republican senators have had momentary flashes of integrity and have been willing to stand up and stand with the American people and not be full-time employees of the Trump organization.”
Kildee aimed a sharp barb at Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).
“Mitch McConnell has given away the authority that his voters and the U.S. Constitution vested in him,” Kildee said. “Hopefully there will be enough others on the Republican side who might be willing to stand up — those who have not handed over their entire franchise” to the president.
Many sources have been predicting release of the much anticipated report, triggered by appointment of the Special Counsel in 2017, is imminent. The Special Counsel was mandated to investigate possible meddling in the 2016 presidential election by Russia has probed deeply into the activities of Trump campaign staff and the president’s inner circle. Several top Trump associates, including 2016 Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, Trump’s first national security advisor Michael Flynn, and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone, have been indicted. Manafort, Flynn and Cohen have been convicted of felonies and are in varying stages of sentencing and prison time.
Kildee, a Democrat who has represented the Michigan’s Fifth Congressional District since 2013, has taken on new leadership roles since Democrats took over the majority of the House in the 2018 midterm election. He is the Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic caucus and also has joined the Ways and Means Committee.
Banner photo of the Ferris Wheel Building by Darlene Carey.
EVM Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.