In 1973, when Senate Watergate Committee counsel Fred Thompson famously asked, “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?” the committee was under extreme pressure from the Nixon White House. Even in the face of a constitutional crisis, the committee plowed ahead and fulfilled its core constitutional duty of executive branch oversight within our system of checks and balances. The committee went on to prove that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States.
Today, congressional investigators are under a lot of pressure as well. On Thursday a Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, when asked about the possibility of a thorough investigation into the Clinton email allegations, said, “They really don’t want to [mess] with us on this. Trust me.” This public threat from a Democrat Member of Congress tells me all I need to know about the still-unfolding Clinton email situation. Democrats are worried sick about the specter of a public congressional fact-finding investigation running parallel to the ongoing FBI investigation. But threats such as this – and there will be more – must not trump doing what is right, and that is to move forward with the investigation in Congress.
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