Trump Rejects House Oversight Demand For Private Email Records

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign Donald Trump made as big an issue of Hillary Clinton’s emails as he did pledging to make America white and evangelical, going so far as calling on his Russian facilitators to find and release illegally hacked documents. However, in what is a blatant display of hypocrisy Trump is renowned for, on Monday the White House officially designated Trump administration players’ email records off limits to the House Oversight Committee; the reason given was that Trump’s people “endeavor” to comply with all relevant laws. Apparently Trump regards the House Oversight Committee’s demands “irrelevant” to his administration.

The bipartisan request came from Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Elijah Cummins (D-MD), and for their trouble they received a “terse” letter from Trump’s congressional liaison Marc Short. The request was for information “regarding the use of personal email and encrypted messaging apps for government work by White House staff.” Mr. Short also refused to hand over records Messers Gowdy and Cummings demanded regarding the use of expensive private air travel by administration officials.

In a two-page response to the Oversight Committee, Short said “The White House and covered employees endeavor to comply with all relevant laws.” It is noteworthy that Short said the Trump cabal only “endeavored” to comply with “relevant” laws, and if that were the case there was nothing to hide if they were really “trying” to comply with the laws.

The Trump response did not sit well with members of the Oversight Committee prompting member Gerry Connolly (D-VA) to remark:

These were bipartisan requests to the White House related to the Administration’s private travel and email usage, and the White House has completely blown off the Committee. The Committee needs to assert its jurisdiction and authority immediately to get this information. If the White House won’t provide documents to permit basic oversight, the Chairman should send subpoenas.”

An aid to the Committee’s chairman said the Committee’s members “are currently in the process of evaluating whether there has been compliance, partial compliance or non-compliance” by Trump’s White House and other administration officials. The aide added “We expect full compliance.

The requests from Gowdy and Cummings for details about the extent of the administration’s use of private email came after a report in POLITICO that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in particular was relying on his private email account to conduct official White House business.  It was also revealed that Steve Bannon, Gary Cohn, Ivanka Trump and Reince Priebus used private email accounts for “public business;” it leads any thinking human being to believe the practice was widespread in the West Wing. Apparently Trump’s cohorts using private email accounts is different than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton using a private email account.

The Committee’s September 25th letter to White House counsel Don McGahn specifically asked for the names of any Trump senior official who “had ever used a personal email account to conduct official business.” They also asked for “the individual, cellular number and account used” by any White House officials who communicated using “text-messages, phone-based message applications, or encryption software to conduct official business.” Trump said no; his administration “endeavors” to comply with the law and as usual he is not going to release anything showing his people violated the law. It is the only reason to blow off a House Oversight Committee request.

The White House gave a similar reply to the demand for details on administration officials use of charter jets, but didn’t even bother to lie that they were “trying” to abide by the law. Instead, Short claimed the committee’s inquiry was addressed to the White House chief of staff and since “not all components” of the White House “are under the supervision of the President’s Trump’s Chief of Staff,” the Committee is getting nothing.

The Committee asked fora detailed breakdown of every flight on a government-owned aircraft” or a “private, non-commercial aircraft” used by “senior White House officials.” Of course the inquiry came on the heels of an investigation into costly flights taken by Tom Price, the former Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary who was forced out after reports he was fleecing the taxpayers. Since Price left his post, there have been several other Trump cabinet officials facing questions over chartering jets for expensive trips; like Trump’s weekly golf outings.

Trump’s congressional liaison wrote:

The White House seeks to ensure employee travel is conducted through the most economic and expeditious means of transportation available.”

According to Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson, Trump’s liaison is lying.  There is a fairly complete list of senior staffers and cabinet officials who are more concerned about “living large,” than they are “economic and expeditious means of travel.”

It is not out of line to assert that the only reason the Trump White House is refusing to “comply with the law” that gives the Oversight Committee authority to examine anything it deems necessary is because they have plenty to hide. If their communications and travel were in compliance with the law, they would have handed over everything the Committee demanded.

This is just another signal that although Trump is a dunce of epic proportions, he is also a dirty hypocrite and corrupt. He railed on the debunked Hillary Clinton email “controversy” non-stop to great effect, including calling on his Rusky comrades to do his bidding. Now he’s flouting the authority of the sole check on his dirty corrupt administration. And instead of drafting articles of impeachment, the Republican Chair of the Oversight Committee hopes they will issue a subpoena.

House Oversight Chairman Will End Trump-Russia Investigation

 

After just a few months of the new administration it’s patently obvious that if there was ever a universally agreed upon theme describing the Republican Party, it is that they are all liars. Oh it’s true they hate the U.S. Constitution nearly as much as they hate equal and civil rights, and that they are fundamentally evil for evil’s sake, but the overarching Republican trait is not necessarily hate, it is that they lie.

The latest publicly recognizable liar is incoming House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Of course Gowdy has spent a fair amount of time attempting to divert attention away from his party’s “liar-in-chief,” but now he’s devised a plan he thinks will make some of Trump’s Russian trouble go away.

On the same day a Time report revealed that one of the five congressional committees probing Trump’s corruption is now investigating whether the Trump’s campaign used voter data stolen by his hacker friends in Russia, Trey Gowdy announced that under his leadership, the House Oversight Committee is ending its investigation into Trump’s collusion with Russia.

Gowdy also said that the Oversight Committee is dropping any investigation into Trump’s crooked son-in-law, Jared Kushner; apparently because the Committee is not interested in providing a Republican White House with oversight involving the criminal activity of its most senior members.

Although the Time report did not reveal which of the congressional investigations is looking at election tampering, it is certain it is not the House Oversight Committee – Gowdy is more concerned about a census than an attack on America’s democracy.

Yesterday Gowdy told reporters that as the new chairman of the Oversight Committee, he “wants to return the Oversight panel to its ‘compulsory’ jurisdiction;” like providing “oversight” on “normal” issues like government procurement and the census. That was Gowdy’s first lie in why he’s shutting down the Russia-Trump collusion investigation.

He also claimed that since he doesn’t want to get in the way of “Special Counsel” Robert Mueller’s investigation, it was best to just close down the Committee’s inquiries altogether. Instead, Gowdy will direct the important committee work on overseeing “the critical” issues it was created to address like the census and government procurement. That too is a lie.

For six long years the Republican-run Oversight Committee, of which Gowdy was a member, investigated the Obama Administration non-stop for myriad things its then-chairman Darrel Issa fabricated, or that were initiated during the previous administration. Investigating the stinking census or procurements was never a Republican Oversight Committee priority while Barack Obama was President – because he was a Democrat in the White House. Now that there is Republican with a damn dark cloud of corruption and collusion with a hostile foreign government in the White House, the Oversight Committee will be turning its attention to the census.

It is impossible to believe even one of Gowdy’s pathetic pretexts for shutting down the Oversight Committee’s investigation into his party’s standard bearer. This is particularly true because the last time Gowdy was involved in any part of the congressional Russia-Trump probe, he did everything he could think of to derail the investigation, shift attention away from Russia and Donald Trump, and portray the ongoing investigations as either folly or fake; especially because his hero in the White House said the real problem is “the leaks.”

Exactly a month ago, Gowdy revealed then why he now intends to scrap the Oversight Committee’s investigation into collusion between Trump and Russia; he has wanted it shut down to protect Trump. Anything he says to the contrary is a dirty lie.

Last month when it came to Gowdy’s turn to question former CIA Director John Brennan when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee about the Trump-Russia probe, Gowdy tried to get Mr. Brennan to say under oath that “no such evidence exists” to investigate possible collusion and treason.  In fact, Gowdy has “repeatedly tried to change the topicfrom collusion involving Russia and Trump’s campaign to ‘the leaks.’” It is the exact same ploy Trump uses regularly.

It is noteworthy that although the previous Oversight Committee Chairman, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), absorbed much deserved criticism for his lackadaisical approach to Trump’s collusion with the Russians, at least he “pretended” to do his due diligence. Chaffetz held hearings on Trump’s Russia scandal, but he never was as dogged as he was pursuing an email scandal involving Hillary Clinton. No doubt if Hillary had “officially” won the election, both Gowdy and Chaffetz would have the Oversight Committee working overtime, because she is not a Republican.

Gowdy is as much a Trump shill as he is a liar and the combination of the two is why he is ending the Oversight Committee’s investigations into Trump’s Russian collusion. It is not due to Gowdy’s regard for the census any more than government procurement; it is to shield the corrupt criminal in the White House and it may be admirable among the criminal cult in America, but it is another form of obstructing justice in any sane Americans’ mind.