The top House Oversight Democrat had some choice words about how Republicans are running the committee.
The resolute refusal of South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, the House Oversight Committee chairman, to do his job and pursue misconduct by Donald Trump has infuriated House Democrats at every turn.
And none more so than Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s ranking member.
Appearing on MSNBC Saturday morning, Cummings described the exasperating lengths Gowdy has gone to sweep under the rug a whistleblower who has come forward with evidence in the ongoing Russia investigation.
Cummings sent a letter to Gowdy, asking for his cooperation in investigating the whistleblower’s information — something their committee is designed to do.
Thus far, it has been radio silence from the Republican.
CUMMINGS: We haven’t gotten any help, no response. What Chairman Gowdy has said is that perhaps we should not be involved in this. He has basically refused — refused, Joy — to even meet with this whistleblower who came to us in great fear, but she felt like she was doing something that was important for our country. And when the whistleblower came forward, they made it clear that they would talk to Gowdy if he agreed to keep their identity secret. And he has not agreed to talk to her at all.
REID: And so, what is the recourse?
CUMMINGS: And we’re the — by the way, we’re the whistleblower committee. We are the committee that handle more whistleblowers than any committee, and the whistleblowers come under our jurisdiction and making sure that they are protected.
REID: And can you just remind our viewers, just to, you know, sort of set the scene here: how many investigations did Trey Gowdy run on Benghazi? Do you remember?
CUMMINGS: Oh my god. I mean, I can’t even begin to count. And it went — but the money that we spent, millions and millions of dollars, interviewing probably a hundred witnesses. And they will not lift a finger. And I’ve said it before, and it pains me to say this, but I think they are basically acting as a defense counsel for President Trump.
Cummings has made similar criticisms of Gowdy before, recently condemning his conduct on the committee as part of an “effort to protect the president.”
And as Cummings points out, when Gowdy seriously wants to investigate something, like the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack, he is too good at it.
Gowdy was so desperate to uncover supposed wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton that he fired an Air Force reservist working with his Benghazi Select Comittee for failing to find such evidence, ultimately costing the federal government $150,000 in a wrongful termination suit.
And yet when it comes to a raft of Trump’s legal problems — from conspiracy with Russia, to funneling federal money into his family businesses, to his senior White House officials illegally using their offices to electioneer for Republican candidates — Gowdy is not just silent but actively determined to silence others who have information.
The House Oversight Committee has been a partisan kangaroo court for far too long. Gowdy’s conduct completely undermines the credibility and usefulness of an essential congressional body.