Politicians, pundits, and scholars alike routinely call Congress the “broken branch.” Most often, they note its abysmally low level of legislative productivity recently, a trend that even the return of unified Republican control of government has failed to reverse. But Congress’s feeble efforts to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election may be an even more startling and serious institutional failure. The House inquiry has been plagued by infighting and missteps. The most notable so far was the clandestine meeting to share intelligence between chief investigator, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and the White House he was charged with investigating. While the Senate investigative committee has pledged a thorough probe, it’s done little so far. It has held no high-profile hearings. Until very recently, it had no full-time staff, and its few part-time staffers have no investigative experience or expertise with Russia.
That investigative standstill is worrisome. What’s at stake is the integrity of the U.S. electoral process. But it’s not surprising. The same party controls the presidency and both houses of Congress. And in recent decades, members have shifted their time from committee work to efforts to stay in office, with frequent trips home and ongoing fundraising.
Throughout American history, from Teapot Dome to the Truman Committee to Watergate, congressional investigations have been a powerful tool to expose wrongdoing, hold the executive branch to account, and prompt policy change.
Full Article: Why won’t Congress really investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia? – The Washington Post.