Horrified by the very real possibility that Democrats will retake control of the House of Representatives in November, Republican lawmakers are reportedly circulating a private spreadsheet that has been dubbed the “hell list,” which consists of investigations the GOP fears Democrats will launch if they are successful in the upcoming midterms.
Republicans “know these things deserve to be investigated and they don’t do it.”
—Matt Fuller, Huffington Post
According to Axios, which obtained a copy of the spreadsheet, the document “catalogs more than 100 formal requests from House Democrats this Congress, spanning nearly every committee.”
“The spreadsheet includes requests for administration officials to be grilled by committee staff, requests for hearings to obtain sworn testimony, efforts to seize communications about controversial policies and personnel decisions, and subpoena threats,” Axios reported on Sunday. “These demands would turn the Trump White House into a 24/7 legal defense operation.”
While the GOP’s control of the House has allowed them to shut down the minority party’s investigative requests—which have touched a wide range of topics, from President Donald Trump’s tax returns to the federal government’s wholly inadequate response to Hurricane Maria—the prospect of Democrats winning back the House has “churned Republican stomachs,” as it would give Democrats the subpoena power they currently lack.
Here are just some of the items on the GOP’s spreadsheet, as reported by Axios:
- President Trump’s tax returns
- Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization
- Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin
- The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels
- James Comey’s firing
- Trump’s firing of U.S. attorneys
- Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings
- White House staff’s personal email use
- Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks
- Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago
- Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance
- Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors
- The travel ban
- Family separation policy
- Hurricane response in Puerto Rico
- Election security and hacking attempts
- White House security clearances
“Lawyers close to the White House tell me the Trump administration is nowhere near prepared for the investigatory onslaught that awaits them, and they consider it among the greatest threats to his presidency,” Axios‘s Jonathan Swan noted on Sunday.
Reacting to reports of the GOP’s secret spreadsheet on Sunday, Simon Maloy of Media Matters noted that Republicans have essentially “documented all the work they should be doing but aren’t, and sent the list around to make sure everyone gets busy figuring out ways to prevent other people from doing it.”
Huffington Post reporter Matt Fuller added sarcastically that the list “really highlights how seriously Republicans have taken their executive oversight responsibilities.”
According to a report by the Huffington Post‘s Paul Blumenthal last week, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee “have asked the Republican majority to issue subpoenas related to the administration’s conduct 52 times during the first 20 months of Donald Trump’s presidency. Republicans turned down each of those 52 requests. If Democrats held the committee gavel, the subpoenas would be approved.”
In a statement on Friday, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)—the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee—vowed to move forward with these investigations into the Trump administration’s corruption if his party takes back the House.
“If Democrats win the majority in November,” Cummings declared, “we would finally do what Republicans have refused to do, and that is conduct independent, fact-based, and credible investigations of the Trump Administration to address issues like the security clearance process, conflicts of interest, the numerous attempts by Republicans to strip away healthcare from millions of Americans, postal service reforms, prescription drug pricing, and voting rights.”