Congressional oversight needed

To the Journal editor:

The following may be considered an open letter to U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet.

On July 13, the Justice Department announced the indictment of a dozen Russian military intelligence officers on charges that they hacked U.S. computers in an effort to disrupt the 2016 election. While these 12 individuals are unlikely to ever be extradited and brought to trial, the detailed evidence which led the Grand Jury to this action is overwhelming. At this point it should be clear to all that Robert Mueller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential campaign is much more than a “witch hunt.”

The significance of a foreign country covertly attempting (and perhaps succeeding) in impacting a United States election should not be underestimated. It is a blatant attack on the very foundation of our democracy.

Yet, President Trump assails his own Justice Department for the investigation and calls it “a disaster for our country” while he makes nice with the Russian president who undoubtedly blessed this aggression.

The authors of our Constitution foresaw the possibility that we could elect a president who would misuse the available resources of the office. It is why they made sure the Constitution assigned specific powers to three separate branches of government creating a system of “checks and balances.”

What they did not design for, however, is a spineless legislative branch that refuses to check the destructive actions of an out-of-control chief executive.

That is what we are seeing now as you and your congressional colleagues fail to perform your crucial oversight responsibility. Instead of standing tall against the Russian threat, House committees choose to be loyal to Trump rather than the country in attempts to discredit our intelligence agencies.

You stand idly by as the president insults allies and kowtows to the Russians. Despite having the power to impeach, the House of Representatives refuses to even as much as censure the president for his egregious behavior. As an individual and patriot, you could join some of your braver Republican colleagues and simply speak out against the President’s dereliction. But none of this has happened.

You served our country honorably with a long and distinguished military career. That makes it both unfortunate and ironic that as we experience this aggressive foreign menace, you remain in the barracks with your bedsheets pulled up over your head.

It’s time to move out, soldier.

Tom Bronken