House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings has said that he is expanding the investigation into the White House’s use of personal email accounts for official business, lashing out at the same time at the Trump administration for stonewalling his efforts to obtain records from it.
In a letter Monday, the chairman requested from the White House to turn over copies of all emails and other communications in which administration officials may have violated federal law as well as the White House’s records policy.
“I am writing to inform you that, due to your complete refusal to produce a single document in response to the Committee’s investigation of the use of personal email and messaging accounts by White House officials, the Committee is now expanding its request to seek copies of all communications sent or received in violation of federal law and the White House’s own records policy,” said the letter.
Cummings also said that he wants both records on the President’s top advisers and on non-career officials, as well as “all presidential records sent or received by non-career officials at the White House using non-official electronic messaging accounts.”
The Presidential Records Act prohibits White House employees from creating or sending records “using a non-official electronic message account.” In case they do, complete copies of such communications must be forwarded to their official accounts.
A Republican spokesperson for the Oversight Committee said Cummings’ letter is “yet another example of Democrats’ obsession with finding some rationale to impeach the President.”
“The Presidential Records Act was not intended to create a fishing license for Chairman Cummings to pry into the private communications of the first family,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The chairman said that since he first required records from the White House, his panel obtained additional information of such violations, including from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
According to the Mueller report, President Donald Trump’s former adviser Stephen Bannon told the special counsel that he “regularly used his personal Blackberry and personal email for work-related combinations (including those with [Erik] Prince), and he took no steps to preserve them.”
Cumming said that although the White House had provided some responses to the panel’s requests, they were “deficient.”
“Unfortunately, over the past six months since I sent my letter, you have not produced a single document, you have not provided any of the requested briefings, and you have not offered any timeline by which these requests will be fulfilled,” Cummings wrote in a statement.