Himes: Focus on Russia Does Not Address 'Kitchen Table Anxieties of American Families'

March 19, 2018

Rep. Jim Himes (D., Conn.) said Monday that Democrats shouldn't focus solely on the Russia investigation because it doesn't address the "kitchen table" anxieties of American families.

"One of the things I keep urging my fellow Democrats to do – and it's hard to do because Dreamers are important, because Bob Mueller is so important – and this is a political statement, in the areas where Democrats need to win, where we don't win, Pennsylvania being the fun exception, people are sitting around a kitchen table with economic anxieties: 'How do I retire? How do I educate my kids? Are my wages ever going to go up?'" Himes said during an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"We need to not lose sight of the necessity of offering solutions along those lines. And every time we go to Russia, every time we go to the Dreamers, a lot of people care about that stuff, but it's not addressing the kitchen table anxieties of American families," Himes said.

The congressman's remarks came after he was asked by MSNBC political analyst Josh Earnest, who served as White House press secretary in the latter part of President Barack Obama’s tenure, if Democrats would push to include statutory protection in the upcoming omnibus spending bill for special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation. Himes said there wouldn't be support for that among Republicans, who currently control Congress.

"That's a great question. The chief obstacle to a statutory special prosecutor in the omnibus this week is, in fact, the Republicans, because you would find almost no support for that," Himes said.

On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump went on Twitter and criticized Mueller and the ongoing Russia investigation.

"Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added...does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!,"

In response, lawmakers from both parties continued to warn Trump to not fire Mueller. White House special counsel Ty Cobb released statement saying Trump has no intention of doing so.

"In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the special counsel, Robert Mueller," Cobb said.

Himes went on to say it was unlikely Democrats would shut down the government over the statutory protection for Mueller, like they did with immigration earlier this year.

"There are a whole lot of Democrats who would say, 'hey, let's not do what we did four weeks ago, which is give people the hope that, for example, we're going to shut down the government or make it look like the president is shutting down the government because he doesn't do what he said he would do for the Dreamers, on the DACA fix.' That didn't work the last time around," Himes said.