Congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump set out last week to see whose branch of government is the more “co-equal;” showing, if not literally at least figuratively, their contempt for each other’s authority.

Much of the animus toward Trump in both the House and Senate was directed at U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who testified before a Senate committee to talk about his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, but who refused to attend a similar hearing at the House.  Trump’s administration has been refusing many of Congress’s demands for information and has forbidden some members of his administration from appearing at Congressional hearings.

Trump has for a long time refused to show Congress his tax returns, but Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s suit to pry them out moved forward last week when a court declined to dismiss the case charging that the president’s business deals are a violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., questioning Attorney General William Barr Wednesday. C-SPAN

At the Wednesday Senate hearing, Barr told Blumenthal that he would not recuse himself from a dozen Justice Department cases stemming from Mueller’s investigation. He also responded to a series of questions about a letter Mueller wrote him complaining that Barr’s initial four-page summary of the 400-page report “did not fully capture the [report’s] context, nature, and substance.”

Friday, Trump told the media that he had a long and productive conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin about, among other things, the “Russian hoax.” In the assessment of Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, (recently returned from a trip to the Middle East), “Trump has made American foreign policy Putin’s plaything. He can do anything he wants with it as long as he can get our President on the phone for ten minutes.”

Back in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont and legislators were having their own struggle over authority – specifically over control of the state credit card. Lamont and some of his fellow Democrats are also at odds over state taxes and who should have to pay them.

Gov. Ned Lamon’t Chief of Staff Ryan Drajewicz. mark Pazniokas / ctmirror.org

After a relatively tough week, Lamont’s Chief of Staff Ryan Drajewicz said the give-and-take is “natural” … “expected”… and “necessary.”

Democrats, the controlling party, have generally gone along with the governor’s budget proposal, including his efforts to reduce spending. There is something awfully tempting in the current $1.2 billion budget reserve, however…

…And there are still two major revenue issues (including tolls) hanging fire.

The state has other issues, of course, some of which will not be solvable in a single legislative session. The future of Tweed New Haven Airport and its relationship to sea-level rise is a concern. So is the growing number of unvaccinated children in some Connecticut schools, where “herd immunity” is apparently being jeopardized.

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Paul SternViewpoints Editor

Paul has more than 40 years of reporting and editing experience at newspapers in New Jersey, Florida and Connecticut. He worked 22 years at the Hartford Courant in various editing roles including as deputy state editor, assistant editor of Northeast Magazine, and as an associate editor at Courant.com. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. A trained chef, he and his wife own and operate a bed and breakfast in an historic home in Mansfield.

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3 Comments

  1. So releasing the Muller report with he redactions was not being transparent enough for the CT delegation? Has any of the CT delegation taken the time to read the un-redacted report that is in the reading room of the congress? Has any of the CT delegation done anything except accuse the Attorney General of lying? Would you want to go in front of a bunch of legislators that have not read the report, bring chicken to a congressional hearing and use this as a political stunt? Our own Rep Hines sits on this committee that uses bullying tactics to get their point across whether it is right or wrong. The republicans are not any better. What is wrong with instead of accuse the Attorney General of lying, Bring Muller himself up to testify. After all he wrote the report and he doesn’t have to interpret anything.
    So, I have a question for everybody, that has really been a quandary? If I want to buy a very expensive vehicle but can’t afford to buy that vehicle and I spend only what I can afford, it that cutting spending? I have asked multiple politicians this question and get a puzzled look in return? Maybe, some person could ask any of our state representatives this question and see what they say? Could actually be fun to hear the results.

    1. LK – I think there’s a typo in your question “If I want to buy a very expensive vehicle but can’t afford to buy that vehicle and I spend only what I can afford, it that cutting spending?” and it should read:
      “If I want to buy a very expensive vehicle but can’t afford to buy that vehicle and I spend only what I can afford, is that cutting spending?”

      My question for my politicians: “When a bill is put forth, and you know that your constituents adamantly oppose it but your party and peers enthusiastically do not, how are you going to vote?”

      I get the same puzzled look and a deflection to another topic.

  2. Unfortunately, the Current-Day Democratic Party have shown by their actions, a Democracy is only of value, if they win. If they do not, they take a position of resistance and denial, no matter the impact or cost to the country. This warped party philosophy puts America on the road to becoming a Banana Republic. This should worry each and every citizen

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