Longtime Democratic Party Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.) said on Sunday President Donald Trump shouldn’t testify before Congress because it would create separation-of-powers issues. (Image source: Fox News screenshot)
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Longtime Democratic Party Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.) said on Sunday President Donald Trump shouldn’t testify before Congress because it would create separation-of-powers issues.
In an interview with the Fox News Channel’s “Fox News Sunday,” Reed told Chris Wallace the prospect of Trump being questioned by Congress “raises the issue of separation of powers.”
"That raises the issue of separation of powers, frankly," Reed said. "At that point, history would suggest that's not done often."
"The special prosecutor, Mr. Mueller, is charged to conduct this investigation, and I believe he's the appropriate person to conduct this investigation," Reed said.
Reed’s blunt statement is actually much more complex than it may seem. If Trump were to go before Congress under oath, he would then essentially be forced to answer all sorts of questions by eager congressmen desiring to take the president down. And if Trump should slip up even on one statement, he could find himself being accused of perjury — even if he didn’t intend on lying. It also could establish a precedent in which Congress expects presidents to come before Congress and submit to their questions whenever they demand it.
This would give substantial power and authority of Congress over the president, who is supposed to be a counterbalance to the legislative branch. It’s also the executive branch that’s supposed to be in charge of conducting criminal investigations.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Reed doesn’t want Trump to testify under oath. He said on Friday he does hope the president will testify under oath, but he wants special prosecutor Robert Mueller to be the one doing the questioning, not Congress.
“The American people deserve to hear directly from this President, under oath, about his charges with respect to Mr. Comey,” Reed said. “President Trump must also be truthful about what he knows about Russian interference in the election, as well as General Flynn and Attorney General Sessions’ contacts with the Russians. The FBI and the special prosecutor are trying to connect the dots related to Russian meddling in our democracy. If the President wants to cooperate and speed the process along, he could testify under oath about what he knows.”
On Friday, Trump said during a press conference he would be “100 percent” willing to testify under oath that some of the statements about Trump made on Thursday by former FBI Director James Comey were not true.
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Justin Haskins is the director of the Socialism Research Center at the Heartland Institute and the co-author of the New York Times best-seller "Dark Future: Uncovering the Great Reset’s Terrifying Next Phase."