Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) claimed Monday that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was improperly trying to influence the 2020 presidential election by conducting oversight of President Donald Trump and his administration.
In a moment reminiscent of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who used the same talking point repeatedly during a 2016 primary debate (“Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing, he knows exactly what he’s doing”), Lesko argued that congressional investigations of the Trump administration were nothing more than an attempt to influence the next election using taxpayer dollars.
She repeated the charge three more times in the brief Fox News segment, which was less than seven minutes long.
Lesko also complained that as a member of the minority party, she was powerless to stop the Democratic majority from doing oversight. She objected to a hearing on Monday to discuss the “lessons learned” from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which was made public in April.
That report outlined at least 10 instances of possible obstruction involving Trump.
“This is nothing but political theater and it’s been a series of that in the Judiciary Committee, and in all the committees in the House […],” she said. “It’s gonna be a political circus. All it is is trying to influence the 2020 presidential election using taxpayer dollars and the influence of House committees. That’s all this is. And it’s ridiculous.”
Asked moments later about Nadler’s successful negotiations with the Justice Department to avoid contempt of Congress, Lesko replied, “Another proof that this is nothing but political theater. Another attempt to undermine the president of the United States and another way to influence the 2020 presidential election using taxpayer money. This it outrageous and uncalled for.”
Lesko objected to Nadler pushing for access to redacted information and underlying evidence from Mueller’s investigation, returning to the same language for a third time. “This is nothing but trying to influence the 2020 presidential election and to do it using taxpayer money instead the normal process where you have to pay for TV commercials and that type of thing. They’re trying to do it using taxpayer money, using the House committees to go after our president.”
There have been numerous examples throughout the Obama, Clinton, Reagan, and both Bush administrations of Congress conducting oversight investigations led by both parties, under its constitutional mandate.
Despite this, Lesko on Monday lamented that only the current investigation into potential wrongdoing by the president constituted a gross abuse of power.
“They are using taxpayer resources. Just all kinds of House committees to go after the president. It’s all about the 2020 presidential election. That’s all that it’s about,” she said.
The Arizona Republican then claimed that “Mueller himself did not prosecute on the obstruction of justice,” ignoring Mueller’s clear explanation that he could not do so under current Justice Department rules.