Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is accusing the Trump White House of “an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction.”
Cummings chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is pursuing half a dozen investigations of the president and his administration, including some “relating to our core national security issues.”
Yet the White House “has refused to hand over any documents or produce any witnesses for interviews,” Cummings writes in the Washington Post. “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.”
This, says Cummings, is not normal, even in a sharply divided Washington. He notes that “previous presidential administrations turned over tens of thousands of pages of documents in response to Oversight Committee investigations under both parties.”
The White House refusal to cooperate with his committee, Cummings writes, “reflects a decision at the highest levels to deny congressional oversight altogether. 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.’”
Cummings cites his committee’s review of White House security clearances.
“The White House argues that Congress is not entitled to any information about individual employees,” he writes, “including former national security adviser Michael Flynn … current national security adviser John Bolton … or the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner,” all of whom had contacts with Russian officials or operatives during the 2016 campaign.
Cummings added that another important investigation involves “the president’s ‘hush money’ payments to silence women alleging affairs before the election,” along with Trump’s failure to divulge the payments, a violation of federal law.
In his conclusion, Cummings appears to lay the groundwork for forcing White House cooperation, while countering Trump’s claims he is being hounded by Congress.
“President Trump’s actions violate our Constitution’s fundamental principle of checks and balances,” Cummings writes, adding that if his committee begins issuing subpoenas to obtain the testimony and information it needs, “there should be no doubt about why.”