I hear a lot from people these days that Senate Republicans will do nothing to derail the disaster-bound Trump Train and, while I agree with that to a large extent, I think it’s important that we leave room for a few of them to surprise us. We saw hints of that in the cabinet confirmations when Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) went against the GOP by voting ‘nay’ on Betsy DeVos’s nomination as Education Secretary.
Collins was also the lone Republican voting against Scott Pruitt’s confirmation to head the EPA and she’s doing good things again as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee — this time saying that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn must be forced to appear at upcoming committee hearings on Russia corrupting the 2016 presidential election.
(Flynn resigned as Trump’s senior security advisor on February 13 after lying to Mike Pence about discussions he had with Russian officials in December.)
The Maine senator said in a radio interview that she and “many of the members” of the Intelligence Committee will make a formal request compelling Flynn to testify under oath, adding that “We’ve asked all of the agencies and campaign officials involved to preserve all documents, all emails, all text messages that could be in any way relevant to the investigation.”
Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and the senior Democrat on the panel, Mark Warner (D-VA), issued a joint statement last month saying that a full investigation will be done.
Collins also suggested that if it had probative value the committee would subpoena Trump’s tax returns.
“I don’t know whether we will need to do that,” said Collins. “If it’s necessary to get to the answers, then I suspect we would.”
While this is all good news, the Intelligence Committee conducts many of its hearings behind closed doors and we may never know what actually happens in those meetings. This is where we can only count on Democrats to make sure nothing is swept under the carpet. Joe Manchin (D-WV) won’t do much, but I think we can count on Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).
But from Collins’ point of view, things are full speed ahead and she says she is committed to getting to the bottom of what happened with Team Trump and Russia.
“This is a broad investigation, and I am confident that since it is a completely bipartisan investigation with full-time staff, that we will get to the bottom of this.”