Democrats in Congress, sick and tired of the Republican Party’s stonewalling, denialism, and outright obstruction of the Russiagate investigations, are starting to fight back, and hard. The most powerful punch yet in the anti-Trump counteroffensive was landed this week when Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat, released the August 2017 transcript of the 312-page, 10-hour testimony by Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS, the firm that hired former MI-6 (British intelligence) Russia specialist Christopher Steele, author of a series of raw intelligence reports about possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Democrats took two other parallel and very significant actions this week, signaling that many of them are ready to confront Trump over Russiagate in 2018.
In the first, led by Representative Maxine Waters—whose efforts to expose President Trump’s ties to Deutsche Bank and Russian money-laundering were highlighted last month in The Nation—six House Democrats released a January 9 letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, expressing dismay that “House Republicans have waged an aggressive campaign to shut down congressional and criminal investigations into Russia’s  attack, they have launched and re-launched investigations into baseless conspiracy theories to deflect attention and resources, they have defamed our nation’s top law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and they have sought to discredit anyone seeking to uncover wrongdoing, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”
And, in the second, led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democrat Benjamin Cardin, they released a 200-page report on Russian efforts worldwide to undermine democracy, charging that “Vladimir Putin’s government has engaged in a relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the United States.”
For months, the GOP chairmen of the three committees looking into Russiagate—Devin Nunes of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), Richard Burr of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), and Chuck Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee—have thrown up roadblock after roadblock. Their actions reflect heavy pressure from the White House, with Trump tweeting on January 10 that Russiagate is “the single greatest Witch Hunt in American history” and adding: “Republicans should finally take control!”
They’ve been trying. None of the GOP members of Congress has pushed back as President Trump unleashed an unhinged, months-long string of tweets and public remarks disparaging the FBI, the intelligence community, the Justice Department (including Attorney General Jeff Sessions), federal judges, special counsel Robert Mueller, and what Trump likes to describe as the Deep State. On January 2, he tweeted “Deep State Justice Dept must finally act?” Act on what, exactly? Why, to launch an investigation of Hillary Clinton. To distract the public, and rally his ultra-right base, Trump—backed by the likes of Nunes, Grassley, and other GOP members of Congress—has been demanding a spurious, unjustified, and frankly outrageous series of inquiries into his Democratic political opponents. And, thanks in part to political pressure from the GOP in Congress, it looks like he’s getting one.