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Elijah Cummings: Donald Trump Involved in 'Unprecedented Level of Stonewalling, Delay and Obstruction' in House Investigations
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49354"><span class="small">Chantal Da Silva, Newsweek</span></a>   
Wednesday, 20 March 2019 12:59

Da Silva writes: "One of the most important investigations the House Oversight Committee is conducting is a review of White House security clearances, Elijah Cummings said. That review has been hampered by the White House's claims that Congress is not entitled to information about individual employees, according to Cummings."

Rep Elijah Cummings. (photo: Alex Brandon/AP)
Rep Elijah Cummings. (photo: Alex Brandon/AP)

Elijah Cummings: Donald Trump Involved in 'Unprecedented Level of Stonewalling, Delay and Obstruction' in House Investigations

By Chantal Da Silva, Newsweek

20 March 19


lijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, accused the Trump administration of engaging in "an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and

In a Washington Post opinion piece on Tuesday, the Maryland Democrat outlined the manyobstruction." ways the White House has so far refused to cooperate with repeated requests from the committee.

"I have sent 12 letters to the White House on a half-dozen topics—some routine and some relating to our core national security interests," Cummings wrote. "In response, the White House has refused to hand over any documents or produce any witnesses for interviews.

"Let me underscore that point: The White House has not turned over a single piece of paper to our committee or made a single official available for testimony during the 116th Congress," Cummings said.

While President Donald Trump has accused Democrats and their committees of "presidential harassment," Cummings maintained that "this has nothing to do with presidential harassment and everything to do with unprecedented obstruction."

One of the most important investigations the House Oversight Committee is conducting is a review of White House security clearances, Cummings said. That review has been hampered by the White House's claims that Congress is not entitled to information about individual employees, Cummings said. That includes former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying about contact with Russians, current national security adviser John Bolton and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser.

"Instead, the White House offered to let us read—but not keep—a few pages of policy documents that have nothing to do with the officials we are investigating, along with a general briefing on those policies during which they will answer no questions about specific employees," Cummings said.

The Oversight Committee had also faced difficulties carrying out its probe into Trump's hush money payments made in the lead-up to the 2016 election to buy the silence of women alleging to have had affairs with Trump, Cummings said.

"Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen provided copies of reimbursement checks signed long after Trump became president during our hearing with him, but the White House has refused to turn over any of the documents we requested. Instead, officials let us read 30 pages, about half of which were already public or entirely blacked out," Cummings said.

He added that the White House had also refused to produce any documents or witnesses in response to other investigations being carried out by the oversight committee, including probes on White House officials' alleged use of personal email and allegations that the president may have violated the Presidential Records Act with the destruction of documents.

The House committee has also been investigating reports from whistle-blowers accusing the Trump administration of a rushed transfer of sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, potentially violating the Atomic Energy Act.

"As a reminder of what used to be 'normal,' previous presidential administrations turned over tens of thousands of pages of documents in response to Oversight Committee investigations under both parties just a few years ago," Cummings said.

For example, the White House under George W. Bush handed over more than 20,000 pages on Hurricane Katrina, the Oversight Committee chairman said. The Obama White House produced "many documents and emails" relating to the Solyndra controversy, "as well as witnesses and documents regarding the Benghazi, Libya, attacks, including communication between top White House officials and National Security Council staff.

"By contrast, the complete refusal by the Trump White House to produce any documents or witnesses to the primary investigative committee in the House reflects a decision at the highest levels to deny congressional oversight altogether," Cummings said.

He believes "the president dictated this approach the day after the election when he threatened a 'warlike posture' against Democrats and then vowed that, at the end of two years, 'I'm just going to blame them.'

"President Trump's actions violate our Constitution’s fundamental principle of checks and balances," Cummings said, adding that if his committee "must resort to issuing subpoenas, there should be no doubt why."

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+15 # BetaTheta 2019-03-20 19:55
The ordinary rules of honesty, openness, and honor do not apply when dealing with criminal thugs. Subpoenas and contempt citations have to be the next step. Then removal.
+4 # DongiC 2019-03-21 03:25
The Executive Branch has declared war on the Legislative Branch. We are now in a state of civil conflict. Congress must hasten to answer this lawless portion of the federal government with subpoenas, citations, impeachment proceedings and conviction actions. There is no point in letting Trump's stall prevent Congress from doing its duty. The man is a reaching for complete power; we are fools and cowards if we permit him to obtain it. The tree of liberty is calling for the blood of patriots. So it all begins.
-6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-21 06:20
Elijah just went about this all wrong. He as well as Nadler just sent out a shotgun blast request for documents. That had the feel of a fishing expedition. Everyone has been through this with Mueller for two years and they are sick of endless unfocused investigation. People have a right to be free from police fishing trips or witch hunts.

Elijah should have named the exact crimes he was interested in. It appears he is interested in obstruction of justice in the Comey firing, emoluments in Trump's businesses, and the DNC/Podesta email leaks. He should have requested specific documents relating to these.

Everyone is just sick and tired to this investigation. Most people are saying Mueller's report will be an anti-climax. Nothing has been done in a competent way. It all had the feel of a political dirty tricks campaign. Elijah should have known no one would cooperate with another continuation of the dirty tricks.

If he really does have probable cause that crimes were committed, he should focus clearly on those causes and request documents and testimony relating to that. No one has to accept a witch hunt from police. we have constitutional protections against that.
0 # MikeAF48 2019-03-21 13:26
Really! What did you expect he's no different than raising kids. He needs the belt and sent to his room. You can talk till your blue in the face means nothing he's never learned anything.
0 # chapdrum 2019-03-21 15:36
As a practical matter, so what? So far, Don is getting away with all of it...into year three.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-22 08:04
I just read that Trump and his people have turned over most of the documents requested by congress. What's going on? Many of these documents were already in the hands of the congressional committees that investigated Trump for the last two years.

Someone is wrong here.