While Democratic members of Congress are still debating whether to begin the impeachment process, people watching the questioning of former special counsel Robert Mueller yesterday could easily have thought they were viewing an impeachment proceeding.
Rather than acting as investigators to develop new information that would build on what we already know, House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee members primarily assumed the roles of prosecutors and defense attorneys. Democratic members tried to make the case for impeachment, while Republican members tried to discredit the idea of impeachment.
Not that this was surprising, given our highly polarized politics. But the hearings didn’t do much to serve the public interest. Nor could they have with a single witness who already had said he wouldn’t provide information beyond what was in his published report.
Of course, the Trump Administration and its congressional allies are doing whatever they can to prevent the House Committees from pursuing their investigations. Accordingly, it’s important not only that committee members take their investigatory role seriously but also that the courts intervene to ensure that Congress can do its oversight job properly.