Following is a list of reasons why it is almost impossible to maintain a proper investigation of the President. In a subsequent article(s) we will explore what can be done by Congress to insure that some of these barriers are eliminated before the next investigation.
10 reasons why it is almost impossible to maintain a proper investigation of the President:
- The President of the United States has undue influence over and access to the Justice Department since it is an executive agency and he is The Executive.
- Congress, the only body who can effectively exert influence over and “check” the Executive branch, is ruled by two parties. Since the President is also always (in modern history) from one of these two parties, if the President’s party is in control of Congress, then Congress is reluctant to vigorously investigate the President.
- There is no independent body that is not subject to the influence of the President or Congress who has the power to throughly investigate alleged malfeasance of the President.
- The President can invoke too many “executive privileges” that shield him and the Executive Branch from testifying or producing documents.
- There are so many unclean hands on Capital Hill and in the White House that people are afraid of where investigations might lead and therefore lack the will to launch broad, probative investigations.
- With so much legislation on the table and so much pork to be fought over and so many self-interests to be fulfilled, coalitions and caucuses with Congress can quietly quash investigations simply by offering big concessions to representatives to quite their calls for or diligence toward certain investigations.
- Since Congressional representatives can run for office in perpetuity and are thus always subject to short-term re-election cycles, their interests are focused on fulfilling short term goals for their constituents instead of getting involved in investigations that could take years without the promise of tangible rewards for their constituents.
- With so many competing priorities in Congress and limited staff and time to dedicate to any single issue, complex investigations get delayed. Delays provide opportunities for the President to tamper with evidence, coerce witnesses, manipulate witness testimony, coordinate consistency of witnesses’ testimony, and of course fire persons who are investigating him (FBI Director Comey under Trump and special investigator under Nixon).
- U.S. interests are so diverse globally that there is fear that an investigation of the President that implicates foreign actors, businesses, governments could have negative effects on other U.S. interests.
- The U.S., Congress and the President have lost or pocketed their moral compasses and thus they are willing to do wrong or allow wrongdoing to continue as long as it is not affecting the U.S. “bottom-line.”