Republicans unconcerned that witnesses flat-out lied as they wrap up House 'investigation'

Republicans unconcerned that witnesses flat-out lied as they wrap up House 'investigation'

At this point, the House Intelligence Committee has spent time with a number of witnesses. It’s possible to say that they’ve questioned most of them, but it’s less possible to say that some—like Steve Bannon and Hope Hicks—provided answers. Others, like Cory Lewandowski, claim to have answered “all relevant questions.” What questions were relevant? Why, the ones that Lewandowski answered. Which certainly keeps things neat.

Not only did many members of the Trump campaign, transition team, or White House staff plead the Trump-th, refusing to answer questions based on Trump’s well-nigh limitless idea of privilege, but as Politico reports there’s also the problem that several of them appear to have openly lied.

In November testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Erik Prince dismissed Democrats who asked whether the Blackwater founder's January 2017 visit to the Seychelles was a furtive attempt to set up a backchannel between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin.

There was Carter Page, who lied about the purpose of his trip to Moscow and his interactions with Russian officials. And Roger Stone, who lied having contact with WikiLeaks. And … others.

But now Republicans and Democrats have a basic disagreement. Democrats would like to get at the truth of what happened. That means calling back witnesses who failed to testify, and perhaps doing something about those people who blatantly lied to a congressional committee that is supposed to care about such things.

That’s more than a matter of pride: Lying to Congress is a crime punishable by imprisonment.

But Republicans have another concern: They want to close down the investigation. And it’s vital to them that it happen quickly. With Robert Mueller finding wiggly things under every stone, and embarrassing details about Trump’s associates spilling every day, Republicans have to close the investigation now, or risk actually finding something. And that’s the last thing they want.