The president and his cronies have never been particularly known for logical, ethical, or moral consistency.
Maryland’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings — who has sparred with the president in the past — has now revealed an email scandal involving an unknown number of White House officials.
According to a letter Rep. Cummings delivered to House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy on Friday, Rep. Cummings was briefed last Wednesday by deputy counsel Stefan Passantino, deputy counsel Uttam Dhillon and associate counsel Daniel Epstein from the White House counsel’s office.
These officials explained to Rep. Cummings that “several” White House officials had kept official government records on their private email servers for more than twenty days, which is against the law.
An internal review of the matter is ongoing, Rep. Cummings says the lawyers explained to him, but in the meantime, the lawyers apparently would not tell him who was involved in the issue. Cummings asked if the president’s son-in-law and unpaid adviser Jared Kushner was among those using a private email account and was reportedly told to “talk to Mr. Kushner’s counsel about that.”
Kushner has been previously revealed to have been using a personal email account to conduct official government business, although his team insisted that no substantive information went through the email.
According to Rep. Cummings, the White House lawyers not only wouldn’t hand over the identities of those involved in the scandal while the review was ongoing, but they wouldn’t even commit to handing over information once the internal review was complete.
With these issues in mind, Rep. Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, wants Rep. Gowdy to issue a subpoena for the information. Upon the revelation of Kushner’s usage of a private email account, Reps. Gowdy and Cummings requested information about which officials were using private messaging services from the White House, but they only got a two page letter from the White House’s legislative liaison that did not identify who was using private emails or messaging services.
Now, Rep. Cummings has been briefed by these lawyers and is still lacking the information he has been trying to obtain. Rep. Cummings’ Friday letter to Gowdy suggests that the infamously investigation-prone official is letting the White House get away with not providing the information in question, but Rep. Gowdy denies this claim.
Rep. Cummings claims in his letter that Gowdy has come to the conclusion that the White House is in “full compliance” with the aforementioned request for information.
Gowdy replied to this claim with a snarky statement which reads, in part:
‘Allegations that we have completed our engagement with the White House on this issue are absurd. As recently as this morning I was on the phone with a Cabinet level official to ensure their full compliance. We need the documents — not the drama.’
The White House, for its part, has decided to sit this one out in the public sphere, stating simply that the administration will “work with Congress as it engages in oversight on this issue.”
The irony here is, of course, that the president spent months during the campaign season attacking Hillary Clinton for her usage of a private email server while Secretary of State — and yet, now Trump has an email scandal of his own.
Featured Image via Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images