At one moment U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House over an affordable prescription plan with the president of John Hopkins University. At another he is rebuking Trump for spilling classified secrets to the Russians. Such is the life of Maryland’s long-serving member representing the 7th District.
As the Ranking Member of the Government Reform Committee, Cummings says he is one of the few leaders on Capitol Hill who actually has the power to challenge President Trump.
“The Republicans are not doing their job to hold the President accountable and so it is our job to do so,” Cummings said during a press conference on May 17. “The American people deserve answers.”
On May 15, Cummings fired off a scorching rebuke of Trump for leaking classified material to the Russians as the ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
By nightfall Cummings was racing up the Baltimore Washington Parkway in time for a 5:30 p.m. forum where he said if the Republican repeal of the Affordable Care Act becomes law 23 percent of Maryland’s low income residents could be affected.
“I want the President to be successful but I have a definition of successful and that is lifting up the lives of all Americans,” Cummings said in an interview with the AFRO. “Where our views are opposite then we have to go toe to toe.”
“I want to work with him when it’s something like prescription drugs,” Cummings said. “If there are things that he can do to uplift the lives with my constituents then I will work with him.”
Cummings and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Committee on Judiciary, issued a joint statement in response to press reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats:
“We need to be clear; we do not know if these allegations are true or false, but if — IF — these allegations are true, President Trump may have just disclosed top secret information to the Russians and possibly jeopardized an intelligence source in the process.
“This is the same meeting in which Russian officials laughed with the President in front of Russian photographers inside the Oval Office while members of the American press were excluded. Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives need a briefing from the National Security Adviser and the directors of our nation’s intelligence agencies to get to the bottom of these allegations, and if there are audio recordings of this meeting, Congress needs to obtain them immediately.”
If the information was classified and Trump did indeed divulge classified information on ISIS to the Russian Prime Minister, he did so legally. According to the constitution, the president has the right to declassify information if it is in the nation’s best interests.
Even so, Trump’s action has received countless feedback from politicians and others in the political sphere, describing him as “incompetent,” “foolish” and “childish.”