Top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday that Donald Trump’s refusal to comply with the Russia investigation sets a “very dangerous precedent” and only raises more concerns about possible White House ties to Moscow.
Cummings expressed his concerns after the White House refused a bipartisan request for documents related to Michael Flynn, who illegally withheld information about his relationship with Russia.
Of the White House refusal to release these vital documents – and the broader investigation into the president’s ties to Russia – Cumming said:
I thought we would get some documents, but this White House has made a decision that they will produce absolutely nothing. I’ve not seen this before, and it sets a very dangerous precedent. President Trump, when he was running, said no one is above the law. Well, he’s not above the law either, and there is a separation of powers. I listened to Mr. Spicer today talk about claiming that they don’t have documents. I was very upset just listening to that because they do have documents. As a matter of fact, they have told us that they have documents, but they found every excuse under the sun not to produce the documents. … We’re staying focused. This is not some witch-hunt. This is about a fight for the soul of our democracy, and I want to be real clear on that. We’re not going to be distracted. We’re going to go after the documents.
Cummings is no partisan hack and his request to the Trump administration is not just on behalf of Democrats on the Oversight Committee – and it’s not part of some partisan witch-hunt. It is a bipartisan request made by leaders in both parties.
The fact that the White House is refusing to be forthright on all matters related to Russia raises a number of serious questions, with the main one continuing to be: If the administration has nothing to hide, why are they so afraid of being transparent with the American people?
At the end of the day, this is the central reason why the investigation must go on in a way that rises above partisan politics. Not only do the American people deserve answers, but it’s clear by the behavior of the administration that they have something to hide.
As Cummings said on Tuesday, this is about the soul of our democracy. If a presidential election was influenced by a foreign government with the help of one of the two major candidates, it undermines the fabric of America’s democratic process – and that should scare people of all political ideologies.