House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has accused President Donald Trump of improperly profiting from his job as President of the United States.
Cummings made his accusations against Trump in an interview with “60 Minutes” aired on Sunday evening. The senior Democratic lawmaker told CBS that he is convinced that Trump is making “a lot of money” off the presidency.
“It’s not okay,” Cummings added. “I still believe that people — the average citizen, the guys on my block, they ought to know if the president is making a deal, whether he’s making it — making it in his self-interest or that of the country.”
The White House immediately responded, calling Cummings’ claims “completely baseless” in a statement sent to CBS News. They added that they could not “comment further about ongoing litigation.”
Cummings will be one of the most powerful people in Congress as he uses his position on the Oversight and Reform Committee to begin a significant number of investigations into the Trump administration. He has vowed to hold Trump and his people accountable for the first time.
As chair of the House Oversight committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings has become one of the most powerful people in Washington, with the authority to investigate anything he wants, including the president. https://t.co/sAYKlPnKbI pic.twitter.com/lw52onOFyX
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 13, 2019
The Baltimore congressman sent out 51 letters to the heads of various government agencies several weeks ago. He is seeking documents on a series of congressional probes into White House and Trump Organization officials. He is expected to begin to hold hearings shortly. One of his guests will be former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, on February 7.
Cummings said on “60 Minutes” that he has not heard back from the administration on his many document requests. One area he will explore is the creation of Trump policies, such as its “zero tolerance” policy that led to family separations at the Mexican border.
“In order to do oversight, you got to have documents,” Cummings said, adding that he is ready for court battles with the White House over document requests. “You got to have emails. You got to have information,” the congressman said.
Cummings’ nationally televised remarks are not the first time that Trump has been accused of profiting off his presidency. There are several lawsuits claiming that he is operating his businesses in such a way that he is earning money in violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., for example, have filed emoluments clause lawsuits. They claim that he violated the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign and state governments through the Trump International Hotel in Washington.