The budding feud between President Trump and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is escalating quickly, with congress now looking into investigating the President for arm twisting that may have crossed the line.
It all began Tuesday when Sen. Murkowski joined Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in voting no on a procedural motion that allowed the Republicans’ TrumpCare bill no one has yet seen to move to floor for debate. The motion passed anyway, but two days later the President’s anger hasn’t.
First, he publicly shamed Sen. Murowski on Twitter yesterday hoping to pressure her into falling in line on subsequent votes. Sen. Murkowski responded defiantly in an interview that many called courageous.
And this morning, we learned that President Trump ordered his Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, to call Sen. Murkowski and threaten to withdraw federal support for massive infrastructure projects in her home state if she continued to oppose TrumpCare in the senate.
Now Congress is sending signals that it’s preparing to step into the fray – and not on behalf of the President. Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D) of the House Natural Resource Committee is calling for a formal investigation into Secretary Zinke for his apparent threats to Sen Murkowski on Trump’s behalf.
Rep. Grijalva released a statement saying in part, “Running a department of the federal government means you serve the American people as a protector of their rights and freedoms. It doesn’t mean you serve the president as a bag man for his political vendettas.
“Threatening to punish your rivals as political blackmail is something we’d see from the Kremlin,” his statement continues. “Secretary Zinke’s willingness to deliver these threats speaks volumes about his ethical standards and demonstrates that Interior’s policy positions are up for political grabs, rather than based on science or the public interest.”
These strong-arm tactics have drawn heavy criticism from across the political spectrum and supports the appearance that the President is getting desperate. Rep. Grijalva will now find out if it violated the law.