Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) issued a statement this afternoon in response to today’s bombshell New York Times story that President Trump told senior Russian officials that firing “nut-job” James Comey had relieved pressure from the FBI’s investigation into the Trump Campaign’s ties to Russia.
“This new report that President Trump openly admitted to the Russians that he ‘faced great pressure’ from the FBI’s criminal investigation that was ‘taken off’ when he fired director Comey is astonishing – and extremely troubling.
Trump made those comments at a closed-door, off the record Oval Office meeting with Sergey Lavrov and Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the United States, respectively.
Per the Times report, the comments appeared in the notes of the meeting that the White House documented themselves and distributed internally. Those notes, or at least that portion of them, were then leaked to the Times. The White House has not denied that the comments were made.
Rep. Cummings is the top ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Relations, and so this isn’t just another congressional Dem voicing his outrage. His opinion carries tremendous weight because he has the power to influence the issuance of subpoenas, power he didn’t hesitate to exercise in the second part of his statement:
If these White House documents in fact exist memorializing the President’s statements to the Russians, the Oversight Committee needs to obtain copies immediately. Chairman Chaffetz should request these White House documents today and have his subpoena pen ready – just as he did earlier this week with the memos written by Director Comey.”
Rep. Cummings’ not-so-subtle nudging of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the Chairman of his committee, alludes to a tweet Chaffetz made on Tuesday, May 16, making it clear he was willing to subpoena documents that could possibly discredit James Comey.
.@GOPoversight is going to get the Comey memo, if it exists. I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 16, 2017
Rep. Chaffetz, who’s announced he will be leaving congress in June, just six months into his 2-year term, doesn’t seem so eager to subpoena records that could (further) discredit the President of the United States.