Watch Elijah Cummings Burn GOP To The Ground For Silence On Trump-Russia Connection (VIDEO)
Cummings Burns Down The House
Following the resignation of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Elijah Cummings issued a clarion call for a sweeping investigation. Cummings excoriated his House Republican colleagues for their silence and opposition to meaningfully investigating Flynn and the Trump administration’s connections to Russia. Cummings called upon them to come together with Democrats and fulfill their obligations to do “basic oversight” of the White House. Cummings was responding to Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the Oversight Committee, who said Monday that he would not investigate Flynn, Flynn’s ties to Russia or the White House’s connection to the scandal, in a clear indication that partisanship trumps national security for Chaffetz and the House Republicans.
Related: OPINION: Republican Leaders’ Silence On Flynn’s Calls And Miller’s Comments Is Unacceptable
He laid out the questions surrounding Flynn, often sounding like a prosecutor giving his opening statement to the court. Although his questions focused on Flynn, he frequently returned to questions of how the 45th president factored into a scandal that continues to mushroom. Cummings said,
“Do you hear that? Do you hear the silence? This is the sound of House Republicans conducting no oversight of President Trump. Zero. That is what it sounds like when they abdicate their duty under the Constitution. We’ve been asking for months for basic oversight of the president and his advisers and their ties to Russia. But our Chairman, Jason Chaffetz, has not lifted one finger. He has not requested a single, solitary piece of paper.
“And think about where we are right now. General Flynn flew to Moscow to have a lavish dinner with President Putin and celebrate the Kremlin-backed media outlet, RT. According to our own US intelligence officials, RT is “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet.” Flynn now admits that he got paid for that trip. But he refuses to say how much he got paid. He may have violated the Constitution in the process. As a retired officer, he may not accept foreign emoluments. The Pentagon is investigating this and we may hear back from them this week.
“Flynn was secretly communicating with Russian officials at the same time Russia was attacking our democracy. … Flynn may have violated the Logan Act by discussing the sanctions imposed by the United States in response to Russia’s attacks. We have no idea why Flynn was doing all this and why he was trying desperately to help Russia, and I know he’s now resigned, but he’s not going to get off that easy. We need some answers to a whole lot of questions. But the obvious questions are: What did the president know? and When did he know it? Was the president aware of Flynn’s efforts? Did he support them?
“Last night we learned that the Justice Department warned White House counsel three weeks ago that Flynn secretly talked with the Russians about sanctions and may have lied about it to the Vice President. The Department warned that the National Security Adviser was at risk of being blackmailed by the Russian government. … So why did the president say on Friday he did not know anything about Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador? Did the White House counsel really never tell the president? Because if that’s true … I cannot see how the White House counsel could stay in his position. That would be a major national security breach not to inform the president of such a serious charge. …
“Why did Flynn continue to sit in on the most sensitive classified meetings until just two days ago? Ladies and gentlemen, something is wrong with that picture. … Who at the White House decided to do nothing for three weeks as Flynn sat in on meeting after meeting after meeting? Did the president decide to wait? Did counsel decide to wait? … Just this morning Flynn tweeted … “Scapegoat.” He described himself as a scapegoat. So I believe we need to hold a public hearing with Flynn to get to the bottom of this. Our Committee held 3 or 4 emergency hearings on Hillary Clinton in a matter of a week or two. And if there was any emergency … in the history of this country, this is the moment. So we need to get his security clearance documents. … I want to see what he put in those documents to find out if he was honest on those forms. And we need to know how much he got paid to have dinner with Putin. But that is only the beginning. … The Republicans need to join us. This is not a democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue. It’s not an independent issue. This is an American issue for the soul of our democracy.”
Despite the Republicans’ recalcitrance in the House, in the Senate, Republican Senator Roy Blunt, Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that Republican leadership is considering an investigation into Flynn and the events that led up to his resignation, the Washington Post reported,
“I think it’s likely that General Flynn will be at some point asked to come and talk to the committee about both post-election activities and any other activities that he would be aware of,”
Watch Elijah Cummings Call On House Republicans To Investigate Flynn:
“Something is wrong here.” Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings calls for a public hearing with Michael Flynn. pic.twitter.com/gxDKH85T59
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 14, 2017
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
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Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.