The Slatest

Trump Has Something New to Blame for a Sluggish Stock Market: “Presidential Harassment”

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump visits the American Cemetery of Suresnes, outside Paris, on Sunday as part of Veterans Day and commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Christian Hartmann/Getty Images

The Trump administration seems wedded to two views: that the stock market is a useful indicator of the overall success of their agenda, and that their policies will always be good for the stock market. Seeing as the markets are, since the beginning of this year, only up slightly, and down today, it follows that there must be some explanation that does not indict Trump. And here it is: “presidential harassment.”

Despite the Trumpy capitalization of “Presidential Harassment,” the idea that a transition from essentially zero congressional oversight to some constitutes a form of nonconsensual badgering of the president does not, in fact, originate with the president.

Almost immediately after the midterm elections, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, “The Democrats in the House are going to have to decide just how much presidential harassment they think is good strategy. I’m not so sure it will work for them.”

Over the weekend, some of the likely new House committee chairs (or, if you prefer, the president’s incoming harassers) laid out some of what they have planned for the new Congress. Elijah Cummings, the current ranking Democrat on the House’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told ABC, “I’m not going to be handing out subpoenas like somebody’s handing out candy on Halloween.” He did say that he might look into why there’s a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census, possible discouragement and suppression of voting, and foreign governments making payments to Trump businesses.

Adam Schiff, who will likely chair the Intelligence Committee, told Axios that Democrats might investigate whether the Trump administration was trying to use the Postal Service or the Department of Justice’s antitrust division to go after businesses linked to news outlets the president doesn’t like, namely the Washington Post and CNN.

And Jerrold Nadler, who will almost certain get the gavel for the Judiciary Committee, told ABC that they would investigating Matthew Whitaker, the just-appointed acting attorney general, who may not legally be allowed to have the job but is very much on the record being critical of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

If Trump really thinks congressional investigations are a risk to the prosperity of the country, he should blame whoever decided to receive large payments from foreign governments, more or less begged the executive branch to go after media outlets he sees as critical, and openly obstructed an investigation into him.