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Amid Trump impeachment talk, DeSantis decries Washington cable news culture. He used to be part of it.

While in Congress, DeSantis was a regular guest on Fox News who often spoke about his efforts to investigate wrongdoing in the Obama Administration.
House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on allegations of misconduct against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. [Associated Press (2016)]
House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on allegations of misconduct against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. [Associated Press (2016)] [ ANDREW HARNIK ]
Published Oct. 1, 2019|Updated Oct. 1, 2019

When Gov. Ron DeSantis made his first public comments on the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump last week, he said that he was glad to be out of the "charade" of Washington.

DeSantis, a former congressman, characterized the congressional call for investigations into the executive branch as pure political theater.

"They're so preoccupied with investigations," he told reporters following a news conference in Mexico Beach. "I get, like, you go on, you make a scene, you can get on cable news, you can do all this. But man, focus on some issues that really matter."

RELATED STORY: Gov. Ron DeSantis scoffs at Trump impeachment talk

But he failed to mention that during his three terms in the U.S. House, DeSantis led many investigations of Obama Administration officials, which helped him become a regular guest on Fox News.

Helen Aguirre Ferré, a spokeswoman for the governor, said DeSantis “understands the motivations behind the investigations currently being undertaken in Washington, D.C. and has spoken about the risk of weaponizing the impeachment process, which Alexander Hamilton warned about in the Federalist Papers.”

DeSantis is a stalwart Trump ally, whose bid for governor was given a massive boost by Trump’s endorsement and who still speaks with the president regularly.

Here’s a look back at a few of DeSantis’ appearances involving investigations of the executive branch — when Obama was president.

Freedom Caucus’ push to impeach Internal Revenue Service commissioner John A. Koskinen

Explainer: The Freedom Caucus, a contingent of hard-line conservatives who frequently clashed with the establishment GOP’s House leadership at the time, pushed for impeachment of the IRS commissioner starting in 2015. They alleged he had lied to Congress and destroyed emails related to the IRS overly scrutinizing Tea Party groups that applied for tax-exempt status.

The New York Times reported that more moderate Republicans were uncomfortable with the move, in part because the process being proposed bypassed the House Judiciary Committee and was seen by some as a political stunt over an issue that had already been resolved by a Department of Justice investigation, which found “poor judgement” but not any criminal wrongdoing.

Koskinen was never impeached.

Ron DeSantis on the release of a memo related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s wiretapping of Carter Page, a onetime Trump campaign adviser

Explainer: DeSantis called for for increased scrutiny over the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice’s handling of a wiretap of Carter Page, a onetime Trump campaign adviser. Republicans argued that the wiretap was improper because it was partly based on information from a notorious Democratic-funded dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent.

Page was under suspicion of coordinating between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The matter was eventually addressed by the Mueller Report, which concluded that there was no evidence that Page was working with the Russians in their efforts to disrupt the 2016 election.

DeSantis’ push for a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton’s role in Uranium One deal

Explainer: Republicans, including Trump, have long alleged corruption by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her agency’s approval of a deal that granted Russia control of some American uranium production through the sale of a company called Uranium One. Several of Uranium One’s owners were also donors to the Clinton Foundation.

This PolitiFact explainer lays out the controversy and why there was never any proof of quid pro quo.

Two House committees, including the House Oversight Committee, of which DeSantis was a member, launched a renewed investigation of the deal in 2010 after the Hill reported that the FBI was investigating the donations but did not inform Congress.

No evidence of criminal wrongdoing has surfaced.

House Judiciary Committee meeting regarding Obama’s use of executive powers

Explainer: Although it’s not a cable news appearance, this December 2013 committee, of which DeSantis was a member, called in legal scholars to testify about whether Obama was abusing his executive powers. They focused on the administration’s delay of the Affordable Care Act’s requirements on employers, the Justice Department’s handling of some drug cases, and the move to allow some undocumented immigrants, who were brought to the U.S. as children, to hold work permits.

House Republicans sued the Obama Administration in late 2014 over Obama’s use of executive powers related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In 2016, a federal judge sided with the House members and the case was settled on an appeal.

This story was updated to include a statement from DeSantis’ office provided after initial publication.


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