by POLITICO | 6.24.19
This piece was authored by Politico, and its content solely reflects the published views of Politico and its journalists.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee is demanding that the White House’s records chief testify about President Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to conceal documents detailing his private conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a letter to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said the White House has ignored his requests for information about Trump’s compliance with the Presidential Records Act, which mandates that such documents be preserved.
“These actions do not serve the interests of the American people, and they obstruct and frustrate the committee’s review,” Cummings wrote in his letter, which comes just a few days before Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin at the G-20 summit in Japan.
Democrats have long been suspicious of Trump’s private conversations with Putin — most notably, after his meeting with the Russian president in Helsinki last year, when Trump bucked his own intelligence agencies by saying he had no reason to believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Earlier this year, the White House rejected a joint request from Cummings, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) for documents related to those discussions, which took place at various points throughout Trump’s first two years in office.
At the time, White House officials said Trump was concerned that the contents of those documents — including the interpreter’s notes — would leak to the media, prompting the president to safeguard them.
Cummings wants the White House records manager “or another official competent to address these issues” sit with the committee for a transcribed interview by July 8.
Cummings also asked the White House to answer questions about reports that Trump confiscated an American interpreter’s notes detailing his private conversation with Putin in July 2017.
The chairman did not threaten to issue a subpoena, but the White House has rebuffed a growing number of requests for information from House Democrats, including the Oversight Committee’s investigation into alleged abuses of the White House security clearance process.
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
Written by POLITICO
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