Michael Isikoff tells Congress to do their job and provide transparent Congressional oversight to the Trump administration, regardless of what Robert Mueller is doing with his investigation.
January 22, 2019

Michael Isikoff is tired of waiting.

On Monday's All In with Chris Hayes, the author of "Russian Roulette" argued that despite an ongoing investigation, it was time for Congress to hold public hearings on Trump Russia:


MICHAEL ISIKOFF: ...Look, to me, all this only underscores how really important it is for Congress to finally step up to the plate here. I mean, we're going to have a real test on February 7th when Michael Cohen appears before the House Oversight Committee. And it's up to Elijah Cummings, the chairman, to hold his feet to the fire and ask every question about every aspect of this without regard to what the impact might be on the Robert Mueller investigation. Congress has its own duty here... a constitutional responsibility to get to the facts and act on them and not outsource its investigative responsibilities to an executive branch official. Mueller has his job to do, but there are other jobs, and an equally important, if not more important, job that Congress has, is to finally resolve all these many questions we have.

CHRIS HAYES: I couldn't agree with you more strongly.

ISIKOFF: It's a point i've been trying to make for the last year, and it's only in the last few days that people are starting to recognize that, you know, getting to the facts, the public responsibility here. I'll ask you one question as an example going back in history. When Sam Irvin held the Senate Watergate hearings, did he ask Archibald Cox's permission to hold those hearings? When they began hearings on Richard Nixon, did he ask for Leon Jaworski's permission to do so? No, because everybody accepted that Congress had a job to do. You know, we're now going to see whether Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, come to the plate and now do their job here. And that means public hearings, not behind closed doors.

HAYES: Crucially, to your point here, February 7th now becomes even more key because Michael Cohen is going to walk into that room with all this swirling around. Again, the word of Michael Cohen even under oath is not ironclad as we have learned from his own plea deal, but he will have an opportunity to lay out at least his sworn testimony is going to be. Your point is so key. Before you get to anything else about the rendering of judgment, establishing record of the facts, which is what can start being accountability for the first time in the Trump era since Comey's testimony, on February 7th with Michael Cohen.

ISIKOFF: Absolutely. Look, it has been now more than two years since the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees announced they were going to be investigating these matters and not a single public hearing has been held with a single fact witness in the entire Russia investigation. That is astonishing to me. All the hearings that were held, all the interviews were done behind closed doors. We still haven't seen the public release of that testimony, by the way. So Michael Cohen's testimony, Donald Trump Jr.'s testimony, go down the list, Jared Kushner's testimony. All behind closed doors and we're still in the dark about exactly what they said.

HAYES: Michael Isikoff, that is a great point. I think there's a divide between journalists and prosecutors on this. The prosecutors say you have to leave them alone, it's a criminal inquiry and the journalists tend to want public transparency. You saw Chris Murphy say this. I thought it was interesting on Friday after the Buzzfeed story. It's even more important in some ways after the Carr statement to say, look, we've got to do something here in Congress publicly about what the heck is going on in this country and with respect to this president.

ISIKOFF: Absolutely. You know, with all due respect to all your legal analysts who talk about the sanctity of the investigation, fine, Robert Mueller has a job to do. He should do it.

HAYES: And he can do it.

ISIKOFF: Others in our democracy have jobs too that are just as important.

HAYES: Michael Isikoff, thank you.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.