Democratic control of US House opens door for Trump investigations

Democrats voiced caution and brushed aside speculation they would begin the process of trying to remove Trump from office.
Wednesday 07/11/2018
The day after the mid-term election, President Donald Trump's supporter holds a flag in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 7, 2018. (Reuters)
The day after the mid-term election, President Donald Trump's supporter holds a flag in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 7, 2018. (Reuters)

WASHINGTON - The Democratic Party won control of the US House of Representatives in elections November 7, opening the door for intensified investigations of US President Donald Trump and his Republican administration.

By winning a majority in the 435-seat House, Democrats will control investigations into Trump, his associates and businesses — probes that had been largely blocked by Republicans. A special prosecutor has been investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign but investigations in the House have shut down with no findings.

Democrats voiced caution after winning control of the House and brushed aside speculation they would begin the process of trying to remove Trump from office.

“Where people go wrong is in seeing oversight in this really small prism of ‘How are you going to go after Donald Trump?’ That’s not it at all,” Ashley Etienne, a spokeswoman for US Representative Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California who is expected to be elected House speaker, told the Washington Post.

Trump wrote on Twitter: “If the Democrats are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for leaks of classified information and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!”

Removing Trump would require a majority vote in the House and a two-thirds super majority in the Senate, which Republicans still control after picking up three seats in the November 6 elections.

The Democrats’ House victory was widely expected and follows a decades-long pattern of the president’s political party losing House seats in first election after a new president takes office. The Democrats’ gains — expected to be around 25 seats — were relatively small by historic standards.

Although Democrats celebrated the victory, several high-profile Democrats lost closely watched elections. Among the losers were Andrew Gillum, who would have become the first African-American governor of Florida, the third-largest US state, and Representative Beto O’Rourke, who lost in his race for a US Senate seat to incumbent Republican Ted Cruz in Texas, the second most populous state.

Democrats won control of several state governor’s offices and hold executive offices in 22 of the 50 states. Governors do not control national policy but many Democratic governors have become increasingly aggressive at challenging Trump in court.