A top House Democrat criticized the White House for “an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction” in turning over documents requested in the growing congressional investigations of President Donald Trump and his administration.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chair of House oversight committee, ripped the Trump administration in a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday, writing that “the White House has not turned over a single piece of paper to our committee or made a single official available for testimony” in response to multiple requests since Democrats took control of the House in January.
“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,” wrote Cummings, pointing out that the administration has repeatedly missed deadlines. “President Trump’s actions violate our Constitution’s fundamental principle of checks and balances. If our committee must resort to issuing subpoenas, there should be no doubt about why.”
CNN reported Tuesday that the White House also missed a Monday deadline to turn over documents to the House Judiciary Committee. A source told CNN that the White House hadn’t responded to the request, but “intends to in the near future.”
“The White House and the executive branch generally has been stonewalling,” Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Monday on MSNBC. “They’ve been doing everything they can to have witnesses say: ‘I won’t talk to you about conversations with the president, I won’t talk to you about this, I won’t talk to you about that,’ without asserting executive privilege. And they have no right to do that.”
A White House official responded to the criticism on Wednesday, telling HuffPost the administration did submit documents regarding White House staffers’ security clearances, and plans to hold a briefing “to further clarify the process.”
“Any statements to the contrary are misleading at best,” the official said.
Cummings alluded to the White House offers in his op-ed, saying that the records were “policy documents that have nothing to do with the officials we are investigating,” and that the briefing will be “a general briefing on those policies during which they will answer no questions about specific employees.”
This article has been updated to include a response from the White House.