They say that a week is a long time in politics, but the twenty four hours after President Donald Trump's address in Congress on Tuesday evening must now seem an eternity away. For the Democrats in the Senate and Congress the battle they knew was coming came ever sooner than many of them may have expected.
As the Democrat Senators and Congressmen left the chamber before the end of President Trump’s speech in Congress they knew that they were in for a major political battle. The wall of Democrat female politicians dressed in white in support of women’s rights was a public display of their opposition to the man who defeated the first female candidate for President and who many consider as a bad role model for the country..
Without doubt the Senators and Congressmen would have been thinking about their upcoming tactics in the two Houses, but very few would have expected the battle to explode the following day. Yet, some would have been expecting it.
The New York Times report the next day that Obama Administration had left a trail for investigators to follow on the allegations of Russian interference in the presidential campaign implicitly reveals that at least a select few of the Democrats would have known that something was about to happen.
The subsequent reports by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post that #Attorney General #Jeff Sessions had not revealed his own contacts with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States reopened the issue that was not mentioned in the President’s address.
With those three newspaper reports the Democrat tactics for the future became clear.
#Jeff Sessions nomination to Attorney General was controversial and not only due to his publicly stated position on race. His role in the victorious Trump election team had already put into question his neutrality in any investigations by his Department into the allegations of Russian interference. The fact that he made no mention of his own contacts with the Ambassador now leaves him open for attack on the matter.
Despite his immediate statements that the conversations with the Ambassador were on other matters, his reticence in the hearings now puts into even more doubt his neutrality on the investigations. In addition, his silence on these conversations also leaves him open to accusations of having lied to the Senate during the confirmation hearings.
These are serious accusations for any Secretary, but are even more serious when the person involved is also the Attorney General.
The Democrats now have a target to which they can direct their attention as they put pressure in the Senate and Congress for further independent investigations of the allegations at the highest level.
Ultimately however the true target for the Democrats is much higher. The possible involvement of Jeff Sessions in the scandal leaves many more questions open about why #Donald Trump nominated him for the Justice Department.
These questions will in turn allow the Democrats will put even more pressure on their Republican counterparts, particularly on those like John McCain, Darrell Issa and Marco Rubio who had publicly stated their discomfort at the accusations to openly support the nomination of a Special Prosecutor on these matters.
The Senate and Congress will be the battlefields for this struggle, but it will not be limited only to the Houses. This is a battle this is already being fought in the media and where the Democrats will be able to speak without risk of censure or blocking tactics such as used in the Senate against Elizabeth Warren when she was censured for trying to read Coretta Scott King’s letter against Session in the vote for his confirmation.
At the end of President Trump’s speech Tuesday evening the GOP would have hoped for clear sailing for at least the near future. Now the Democrats find themselves with the wind in their sails and a battle that may have become easier than they expected.