During President Obama’s tenure, Republican congressman Darrell Issa of California was among some of the most partisan and annoying Republican congressmen. Obama even went as far as to call him “shameless”, saying that his main contribution to American politics was “to obstruct and to waste taxpayer dollars on trumped-up investigations that have led to nowhere.”
It will come as a surprise to many that this time, however, Issa has just done the Democrats a favor. Issa appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time for an interview and called for an independent special prosecutor to investigate President Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Issa then went a step further and actually aligned himself with some of his Democrat opponents, telling Maher:
You can’t have somebody, a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions, who was on the campaign, and who was an appointee, you’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office.
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In the interview with Maher, Issa also admitted there wasn’t enough engagement with the public or enough town hall meetings. He also mentioned the difficulties Republicans are having in “unwinding” the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid that was achieved under the Obama administration. He insinuated that he is not fully behind the repeal and replace strategy that is being proposed by many in the GOP, and instead proposed looking at examples of healthcare in other countries such as Canada or Sweden where there are “better ideas” and where it costs “half as much.”
Issa is the first congressional Republican to speak his mind about Trump and Jeff Sessions. This is an extraordinary development, considering Issa hates the Democrats, and happens to consider Sessions a friend. Issa has in the past used investigations against the Obama administration for his own party-political gain, and it is likely that he is still thinking about himself, realizing that the smart thing to do for his own reputation is taking the Russia scandal seriously before it becomes the reason for Trump’s impeachment.
It comes as no surprise that Republicans are already trying to escape the sinking ship that is Trump’s administration. Democrats are likely to seize on his words and use them to reinforce their argument for Sessions stepping aside and letting a special prosecutor go after Trump. Hopefully, Issa has opened the floodgates, allowing more Republicans to follow suit.