A new development on the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia has arrived, and the implications are significant enough that it’s hard to believe it didn’t land in a late-afternoon news dump. In effect, Congressional Democrats are accusing the White House of telling federal agencies to “refuse requests for information from Democratic members of Congress.” This applies to not only House and Senate oversight on the Russia investigation but issues like national security, immigration, and health care.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke with the Washington Post prior to the letter’s release. He feels that the Trump White House is not only snubbing its nose at separation of powers but is predominantly doing so with Democrats. It’s a concern that lines up with the White House’s almost aggressive cooperation with GOP Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) that was aimed at making Trump’s wiretapping tweets look less bonkers. Schumer worries that this new pattern of ignoring Democratic Congressfolk “is part of a deeper syndrome” that will hurt America.
The letter asks the Trump White House “to immediately clarify why [the administration] is obstructing Congress’ constitutional legislative and oversight duties,” and here’s an excerpt:
When Congress raises legitimate questions, the response of any Administration should be to provide answers that ensure the confidence of the American people — not to obstruct congressional effort to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance. Federal agencies should generally provide information voluntarily in response to congressional requests, especially if these agencies would be required to provide the same information to the general public if requested under the Freedom Administration Act.
So far, there’s been no White House comment on the letter, which cordially requests the “courtesy of a response.” The Democrats say they have received cooperation from previous Republican White Houses on any issue that Congress has inquired about, so they’d like to know why they’re being ignored. The Democrats also ask Trump to work “in good faith to resolve any disputes” that he has with them. You can read the full letter below.