Congressional action needed to hold Trump accountable for cancerous abuses: Rep. Eric Swalwell
President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr, White House photo by Shealah Craighead

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) called for congressional action to hold former president Donald Trump and his administration accountable for their abuses of power.

The California Democrat, whose personal data was seized by Trump's Department of Justice, said the twice-impeached one-term president must face consequences for his abuses to ensure that future presidents aren't tempted to copy his playbook, just as Trump felt emboldened by Richard Nixon's pesidency.

"Trump always treated the idea of justice with contempt and his attorneys general as his personal fixers," Swalwell wrote in an op-ed published Monday by Yahoo News. "Just like his almost impeached predecessor and mentor, Richard Nixon, Trump sicced the power of government on his enemies with no regard for the rule of law. It appears he took away all the wrong lessons from Nixon's time in office."

The former president's corruption infected the executive branch and spread to his supporters, Swalwell said, and nearly proved fatal.

"Almost 50 years ago, John Dean warned of 'a cancer on the presidency,'" Swalwell wrote. "For the past four years, the cancer was the president. Donald Trump had no regard for our laws, our system of justice or our democracy itself, and he was fine with destroying all of them if it served his personal purposes."

The Justice Department's inspector general has launched an investigation of subpoenas targeting Trump's political enemies, but Swalwell said congressional action was needed to compel testimony from former administration officials such as William Barr, Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein.

"His weaponization of law enforcement was straight out of the playbooks of the dictators and despots he idolized, and it remains particularly concerning because he and his supporters believe he could become president again," Swalwell wrote. "Next time, Trump (or some other equally corrupt but more competent president) might not wait for a Justice Department investigation to yield evidence; he might just order that people be locked up, per his "lock her up" campaign mantra."

"And using the Justice Department to probe his political opponents is just one more abuse among many Trump perpetrated upon our nation," the lawmaker added. "He leveraged foreign aid to coerce another country into producing dirt with which to smear an electoral opponent. He refused to concede an election his own appointees had deemed free and fair, and he incited a resurrection against our democracy."