Congress slams Trump's 'unprecedented' refusal to turn over documents


House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings blasted Trump's White House for its 'unprecedented level' of obstruction.

The new majority in Congress is dutifully investigating Trump's smorgasbord of criminal and corrupt activities.

But Trump's White House has engaged in "unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction," according to Congress's chief investigator. He also hinted that subpoenas may be on the horizon.

In a Wednesday Washington Post op-ed, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) says the Trump White House has refused to turn over any documents at all.

"Let me underscore that point," Cummings says. "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." The stonewalling comes despite a dozen letters sent by Cummings on topics ranging from the mundane to allegations Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for illegal hush-money payments made during the 2016 election.

Cummings is also looking into the use of personal email by White House staffers, nepotism surrounding the security clearance process, and the administration possibly violating the law in a rush to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

Trump's obstruction is not limited to Cummings. According to a recent Politico investigation, the White House has refused to cooperate with requests from 17 different congressional committees.

Trump's actions are "truly extreme," Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said in reaction to Cummings' op-ed. Shaub added that "subpoenas may be in order."

The Trump White House has "an arrogant attitude toward Congress, Charles Tiefer, former solicitor and deputy general counsel of the House, told Politico. "You have to go back to the Nixon administration to find this."

Past administrations of both parties cooperated with Congress no matter which political party was in control. George W. Bush turned over more than 20,000 pages of documents related to that administration's disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. President Obama turned over documents to a Republican Congress that tried to exploit the murder of American diplomats in Benghazi for political gain prior to the 2016 election.

But Trump apparently thinks he is above the law. Immediately after the 2018 midterm election, where voters elected Democrats in part to hold Trump accountable, Trump hinted he would stonewall any and all investigations. Trump used his 2019 State of the Union address to threaten the new congressional majority about investigating him for potential criminal activity.

But Trump's empty threat backfired.

"We will not be bullied by the president of the United States," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), chair of the House Democrats, said immediately following the address.

Cummings is taking the same posture, standing up not only for the will of American voters but for the values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

Trump's actions "violate our Constitution's fundamental principle of checks and balances," Cummings says. "If our committee must resort to issuing subpoenas, there should be no doubt about why. This has nothing to do with presidential harassment and everything to do with unprecedented obstruction."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.