A day after the midterms, President Trump warned that he would assume a "warlike posture" if Democrats used their new control of the House to aggressively investigate him. A slew of new stories suggests that Trump will have to assume that posture quickly. One of the phrases in circulation Monday is "subpoena cannon"—as in, that's what House lawmakers are preparing to unleash against the president, one Democratic source tells Axios. Details and developments:
- 85 and counting: So what might Democrats investigate? Pretty much everything, from Trump's taxes, to his family's business dealings, to Russian ties, to hush-money payments, etc. Axios has compiled a list of no fewer than 85 possible oversight targets.
- And this: Rep. Adam Schiff, incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Democrats might look into whether Trump used “instruments of state power” to punish CNN and the Washington Post, according to a report in the Post. The allegation on CNN is that Trump sought to stop AT&T from buying parent company Time Warner; on the Post, it's that Trump has been pushing for the postal service to increase shipping rates on Amazon, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns the newspaper.
- Hush money: An aide on the House Oversight Committee tells the Wall Street Journal that Democrats have begun investigating payments during the 2016 campaign to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, and have already requested records from the Trump Organization. This follows a Journal report that Trump was directly involved in arranging the payments to quell stories about alleged affairs, raising the question of whether he violated campaign finance laws.
- The i word: The coverage differs on whether Democrats are serious about pursuing impeachment. The Post says House leaders are "rebuffing calls from some liberals" to do so. But Axios reports that top Democrats "now tell us they plan to almost immediately begin exploring possible grounds for impeachment." The coming Robert Mueller report would be key.
- Related quote: Rep. Jerry Nadler, expected to chair the House Judiciary panel next year, said on CNN Sunday that if Trump did indeed violate campaign rules on the hush-money payments, "that might very well be an impeachable offense." Nadler also said he might subpoena acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to testify about his "expressed hostility" to the Mueller investigation.
- Trump's response: "The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!" Trump tweeted Monday morning. The Dow was down more than 400 points at noon, per MarketWatch, which cites economic, not political, factors.
- Losing strategy? An analysis at Vox wonders if Democrats would be playing right into Trump's hands by focusing on investigations—Trump loves to fight—rather than policy, where the president is seen as weaker.
(Trump is calling for an end to the recounts in Florida