Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) gave an interesting insight into Democratic strategy against Trump, Wednesday, when she interrupted a hearing on the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election to ask Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein whether he was investigating any sexual harassment allegations made against the president.
Rep. Jackson Lee, like other members of the House Committee, was given five minutes to interrogate Rosenstein over his oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation — an investigation that House Republicans claim is now tainted and riddled with insider bias against the president.
But Jackson Lee had other priorities, the Daily Caller reports.
“What intentions does the Department of Justice have to allow these women, who are accusing the president of sexual misconduct and have never been heard in terms of a public setting…what does the Department of Justice intend to do?” she asked.
Rosenstein appeared somewhat confused about the question, noting that private claims of sexual harassment aren't necessarily within the purview of the Department of Justice, particularly claims that emerged before the president was in office. The only way the incidents could become federal business, Rosenstein explained, is if the accusers made them federal business.
“If they file a lawsuit, they’re free to do so, it would be a Department matter," he answered.
Jackson was not satisfied with Rosenstein's answers, and pressed the Deputy Attorney General on whether the FBI could begin a separate probe into whether Trump sexually harassed several women during his time as a New York real estate investor, when the now-president was a well-known playboy.
Rosenstein tried his best. “If there’s anything that warrants federal investigation then we would certainly look at it," he answered.
Jackson Lee responded by suggesting that she would refer the women to the Department of Justice, thus suggesting that she would pressure his office into beginning the probe. Rosenstein finally responded by indicating that sexual harassment, as it stands, is not technically a federal crime. And the DOJ is charged with investigating federal crimes.
The interaction may be the surest sign yet that prominent Democrats who once called for Trump's impeachment over the president's alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, have given up hope, at least for the time being, of finding evidence directly connecting Trump to Russian efforts, and thereby exposing the president to a real impeachment hearing.
The sexual harassment allegations appear to be a better bet.