Maddow Blog | Trump’s pitch to Big Oil execs sparks Senate Democrats’ attention

Even those who’ve grown accustomed to reports on Donald Trump’s alleged corruption were taken aback last week. Just days after Politico reported that oil industry executives were writing up presidential executive orders now, in the hopes that Donald Trump will simply sign them if/when he returns to the White House, The Washington Post reported on the former president recently huddling with Big Oil leaders at Mar-a-Lago.

If the account is accurate, the presumptive Republican nominee told the oil industry executives that they should raise $1 billion to return him to the White House — and if they did, he’d reward them by eliminating environmental safeguards and approving new tax breaks.

The “deal” that Trump described, the Post added, “stunned several of the executives in the room.”

The New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie responded soon after, “I’m obviously angered by the blatant disregard for the planet and its inhabitants. But I’m also struck by the in-your-face brazenness of Trump’s reported quid pro quo. This is more than the hint of corruption; it is the overpowering scent of the rotting corpse of corruption. It is influence trading of the sort that would embarrass a Boss Tweed or a Roscoe Conkling, whose 'honest graft' came with at least the pretense of pursuing the public good.”

Is the sort of thing that might spark some interest on Capitol Hill? In the Republican-led House, no. In the Democratic-led Senate, maybe. The New Republic’s Greg Sargent reported:

“This is practically an invitation to ask more questions,” the Rhode Island Democrat told Greg, describing this as a “natural extension of the investigation already underway.”

Whitehouse added, “The phrase that instantly came to mind as I was reading the story was ‘quid pro quo.’” Referencing both the Post’s report and the aforementioned Politico article, the senator concluded, “Put those things together and it starts to look mighty damn corrupt.”

All things considered, I think it’s fair to say that Senate Democrats have exercise extraordinary restraint — by some measures, too much — in not holding committee hearings in response to every episodic development surrounding the former president. While the likes of House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan have reached for their gavel in response to meaningless Fox News segments, Democrats in the upper chamber have been far more measured about chasing assorted Trump scandals.

But there are limits. Watch this space.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com

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