Politics

House Dems Accuse White House of Withholding Requested Documents

Chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland demanded full and immediate compliance from the Trump administration

Image Credit: Shutterstock & Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) (shown above right) accused the Trump administration on Friday in a letter to the White House counsel of stalling on document requests.

President Donald Trump has been at the center of an ongoing investigation virtually since taking office — and House Democrats were quick to start their own investigations into the president and his activities shortly after gaining majority control earlier this year.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has been at the forefront of some of those inquiries.

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“Since I sent my letter on January 23, I have been negotiating in good faith — and in private — to try to obtain the information the committee needs to conduct its investigation,” Cummings said in the letter.

“However, over the past five weeks, the White House has stalled, equivocated, and failed to produce a single document or witness to the committee.”

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Newly minted White House counsel Pat Cipollone was urged in the letter to comply immediately with previous requests for documents and witness interviews.

Cummings shared a specific concern about the lack of compliance regarding an investigation into how the administration conducts its security clearance process.

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“The White House has refused to commit to providing any information regarding the security clearance of any specific White House official,” Cummings said. “The president has asserted no constitutional privilege to withhold this information from Congress.”

Cummings made the demands in light of a report this week from The New York Times that said the president pushed for his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, to receive a security clearance.

But this report, if true, would contradict previous statements from the president, who claimed he played no role in the security clearance process.

“If true, these new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory information career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets, why President Trump concealed his role in overruling that recommendation, why General Kelly and Mr. McGahn both felt compelled to document these actions, and why your office is continuing to withhold key documents and witnesses from this committee,” Cummings said.

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Cummings then warned that the letter will be the final time he requests voluntary cooperation with the investigation. He demanded that the administration produce all responsive documents and begin scheduling transcribed interviews with each witness identified by the committee by March 4.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee held its first hearing related to its investigations against the president on Wednesday.

Former attorney Michael Cohen was called to testify against the president, as he once represented him. He has been cooperating with federal investigators and admitted to many crimes since turning himself in to the authorities in August 2018. Cohen begins a three-year sentence behind bars in May.

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