(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is expected to chair the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the next Congress, and as such, he will launch investigations into President Trump.
He told ABC’s “This Week” that the American people want “transparency” and “accountability,” but he also said he won’t be handing out subpoenas like they were Halloween candy:
“I’m not going to war with anyone,” Cummings told host George Stephanopoulos:
What I am going to do is do what the American people said they wanted us to do through this election, even in Trump country they basically are saying that we want transparency, we want honesty and we want integrity.
But they want something else, George. They want accountability with regard to this president. That is exactly what I’m going to do, if I’m blessed to have that opportunity and this is what the Constitution requires of us.
And so we’re going to do our part. But George, I’m not going to be handing out subpoenas like somebody’s handing out candy on Halloween. I take this — as a lawyer and as an officer of the court — I take subpoenas very seriously. And I plan to, if I have to use them, they will be used in a methodical way and it must be in the public’s interest.
Cummings said he views subpoenas as “a method of last resort.”
“As a lawyer, I know the power of a subpoena. Once you send somebody a subpoena, they’ve got to get a lawyer, and — and it’s — it’s a lot there. So what I’m going to try — I’m hopefully — hoping that we’ll have consultation with the Republicans, where we could agree. But — but if it comes down to me believing something is in the public interest, I want to do deliberately — deliberatively. But I’m going to do what I think is best. And I’m going to do what the Constitution demands that we do.
“And I would ask that the president not try to stand in our way of doing our job as members of the Congress.”
What if members of the Trump administration ignore the committee’s subpoenas?
“We will cross that bridge when we get to it,” Cummings said. “I’m not going to deal with that hypothetical because I’m — I’m more optimistic than that. But I promise you we will deal with that when we get to it.”
Stephanopoulos asked Cummings if he will try to find out if President Trump has violated the Constitution’s Emoluments clause, which says government officials may not, without the consent of Congress, accept any “present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”
“Definitely. Definitely,” Cummings responded. “We definitely want to look at the Emolument clause, possible violations. I think there are probably many of them. We want to look at things like the FBI building fiasco, where the president injected himself into that debate as to where it would be located — we think for his benefit. We got to figure out when is he acting on behalf of the American people in a lot of his decisions or — or is he acting on his own behalf. But there’s something else that we’ve got to do.”
Cummings also said Democrats “may want to look into” President Trump alleged attempts or threats to retaliate against Amazon and CNN. ANd he said he wants to “look at” the citizenship question included in the Census.
“We have got a lot to do. So, I’m laser focused on those issues that even President Trump says that he wants to work on, such as prescription drug prices, the high price of prescription drugs, such as making sure that we protect people with regard to pre-existing conditions…And voting rights. We have got to deal with things like voting rights.
“So, we’ve got a lot on our plate.”
On the issue of “voter suppression,” Cummings said Trump is doing everything in his power to stop people from voting. “There’s no reason why in the United States of America people should be standing in line for four and five hours and basically being pushed away from the polls. We’ve got to turn that around.”
Trump, of course, doesn’t run elections in the various states and has nothing to do with long lines at polling places.