Representative Eliot Engel, who recently assumed chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, revealed in a recent interview that he has chosen to shutter an anti-terrorism subcommittee to redirect resources he believes would be better spent investigating President Trump.
There “wasn’t a great clamor,” to maintain the post-9/11 terrorism subcommittee, Engel told The New Yorker in an interview published Friday. “We just thought, if we’re going to do something relevant in this era where Congress is going to reassert itself, where there are so many questionable activities of this Administration vis-à-vis foreign policy, that it made sense to have this.”
Rather than prioritize hearings on major geo-political developments and how they will affect American alliances, Engel said he wants, first and foremost, to investigate whether Trump has shaped his foreign policy in order to appease Russian president Vladimir Putin, who many believe holds some kind of leverage over him.
“It’s been many months since Helsinki, and we still don’t know what Putin and Trump talked about,” Engel said, referencing Trump’s bilateral meeting with the Russian strongman last year and the subsequent press conference, during which Trump appeared to accept Putin’s denial of election meddling over the assessment of American intelligence agencies.
Engel also vowed to examine the president’s overseas business dealings and whether they have “affected what he’s done in foreign policy.”
Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, pled guilty in November to lying to Congress about the timeline of discussions of a Trump Tower Moscow project, and Trump’s personal involvement in those discussions. After initially testifying that the project was abandoned in early 2016, Cohen admitted that it continued to be considered until well after Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination later that year.