Email #290: “the Committee made a commitment”?

On June 21, Democrats on your House Judiciary Committee wrote to you, reminding you that:

“At the beginning of this Congress—under your leadership and pursuant to your amendment to our oversight plan—the Committee made a commitment to conduct oversight into allegations of misconduct by executive branch officials. We ask you to respect that commitment, and schedule hearings with the leadership of the Department of Justice and the FBI without delay.”

After listing the wide and growing range of allegations, they stated:

“In our Committee meetings, you have expressed reluctance to investigate these matters because “the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are also conducting investigations.” It falls to us—and not to the intelligence committees—to examine questions about obstruction of justice, the dismissal of the FBI Director, and any attempt to influence or pressure the leadership of the Department of Justice. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, agrees with us on this point, and our Senate counterparts are already working with Special Counsel Mueller to lay out the next steps of their investigation.

“At other times, you have expressed unwillingness to debate these questions because “investigations into these matters are ongoing.” We appreciate the sensitivity of the work of the Special Counsel, but nothing about an ongoing investigation prevents us from acting responsibly and conducting our own oversight… the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server did not prevent you from asking either the Attorney General or the FBI Director about the case—long before the investigation itself had concluded.”

It has now been three full months since your committee members wrote to you, and I am not aware of your responding to this request or any of the specific concerns it addresses. Although I would think you would owe members of your own committee an explanation for your inaction, as one of your many concerned constituents, I know you owe me one.

Your committee members are not condemning the President or any other member of the administration. They are not asking to begin impeachment proceedings. They do not want to interfere with Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. They just want to do their jobs. Why don’t you? Why have you reduced the once vigilant House Judiciary Committee to a puppet of the executive branch it should be overseeing?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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