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Cummings Sends Letters to White House and IC Seeking Briefings on Niger Ambush

Oct 25, 2017
Press Release

Cummings Sends Letters to White House and IC Seeking Briefings on Niger Ambush

 

Expresses Disappointment in Chairman Gowdy’s Decision to Wall Off White House from Oversight Yet Again

 

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 25, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement after Chairman Trey Gowdy agreed to his request to seek a briefing from the Department of Defense on the Niger ambush on October 4, 2017, but refused his identical requests for briefings from the White House and the Intelligence Community (IC):

 

“Although I thank Chairman Gowdy for agreeing to my request to seek a briefing from the Department of Defense on the ambush in Niger that killed four Americans and wounded two more, I am greatly disappointed that the Chairman did not agree to my requests to seek identical briefings from the White House or the Intelligence Community.  Our understanding was that he had agreed to all of these requests earlier this week, but apparently something changed.  Our Committee has investigated a number of previous instances of Americans killed in the line of duty, and we have sought documents and information from the White House in addition to the Pentagon and other agencies.  Chairman Gowdy’s unwillingness to ask the White House any questions about these terrorist attacks in Niger at this time is part of an unfortunate and disturbing pattern of walling off the Trump White House from serious, credible oversight.  The Committee cannot fulfill its constitutional duty while exempting the White House from robust congressional scrutiny, especially one involving the death of U.S. service members.”

 

On Monday, Cummings asked Gowdy to request briefings from the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community on the attacks in Niger.  Gowdy agreed only to send a letter to the Department of Defense, which Cummings readily joined.  Since Gowdy declined to send identical briefing requests to the White House or Intelligence Community, Cummings sent his own letters today seeking those briefings as well.

 

When Gowdy served as Chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee, he sent multiple requests for documents and information to the Obama White House to investigate the deaths of four Americans, including letters on April 23, 2015August 7, 2015, and March 16, 2016.

 

Similarly, during the Oversight Committee’s investigation of the fratricide of U.S. Army Corporal Patrick Tillman, then-Chairman Henry A. Waxman and then-Ranking Member Tom Davis sent bipartisan requests to the White House.

 

Unfortunately, Gowdy has recently refused multiple requests to conduct basic oversight of the Trump Administration:

 

  • He has refused a request for a subpoena to compel the White House to produce documents it is withholding relating to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn that were requested on a bipartisan basis on March 22, 2017.

 

  • He has refused a request for a subpoena to compel the White House to produce documents it is withholding relating to private email accounts used by the President’s top aides, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who reportedly defied the Committee’s direction and relocated their accounts to the Trump Organization.

 

  • He has refused a request to even seek documents from the White House regarding its horrendous response to the hurricanes that battered Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, following the model of his predecessor, former Republican Chairman Tom Davis, who requested White House documents after Hurricane Katrina.

 

Click here to read the bipartisan letter from Gowdy and Cummings to the Department of Defense.

 

Click here to read the letter from Cummings to the White House that Gowdy declined to join.

 

Click here to read the letter from Cummings to the Intelligence Community that Gowdy declined to join.

115th Congress