MUST SEE VIDEO:Elijah Cummings Issues Blistering Condemnation Of President Trump’s “Child Internment Camps” Calls on House Republicans to Stand Up to President Trump and Stand Up for the Children
Washington, D.C. (June 19, 2018)—Today, during a joint hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on the Judiciary regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails, Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings diverted from his prepared remarks to issue an impassioned and blunt condemnation of President Donald Trump’s new policy of separating children from their parents at the border. Facing his Republican counterparts directly, he implored them to “stand up to President Trump” and to “stand up for those children.”
Cummings and other Democrats on the Oversight Committee have been asking Chairman Trey Gowdy to investigate the origination and heartbreaking ramifications of President Trump’s child separation policy, sending letters on May 22, 2018, and June 17, 2018, but they have received no response.
Ranking Member Cummings’ full statement is set forth below.
Opening Statement (As Delivered)
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member
Joint Hearing on “Oversight of the FBI and DOJ Actions in Advance of the 2016 Election”
June 19, 2018
When we look back to the presidential campaign in 2016, there is one extremely troubling image we all remember very well. That is the image of Donald Trump and other Republicans chanting “lock her up, lock her up, lock her up.” They were talking about Hillary Clinton using personal email, and they demanded over and over again that she be jailed.
But the Justice Department had already investigated. They had interviewed witnesses, reviewed documents, analyzed the law, and examined past charging decisions. At the conclusion of its investigation, the Department disagreed with the Republicans. They did not charge Hillary Clinton with any crime at all. And the entire DOJ and FBI team on the investigation agreed with that conclusion.
Of course, the Republicans refused to accept that conclusion. They wanted Hillary Clinton to be guilty. So they attacked the investigation. They said there must have been collusion with Hillary Clinton. They called emergency hearings, over and over and over again. They insisted on reviewing documents and re-interviewing witnesses. And they demanded that the Inspector General conduct his own independent investigation of the FBI.
Last week, the Inspector General issued his report, but it finds the same thing. It says: “We found no evidence that the conclusions by Department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations.” The report goes on, “rather, we determined that they were based on the prosecutors’ assessment of the facts, the law, and past Department practice.”
So, the Republicans were wrong again. All their howling about “lock her up” was bogus. It was baseless. It was unsubstantiated. And now we have another report saying so.
But again and again, the Republicans refuse to accept this conclusion. They still want Hillary Clinton to be guilty, guilty, even today. Now, they are going after the investigation of the investigation. They are going after the Inspector General’s report issued last week.
They want to re-review documents the Inspector General already reviewed and re-interview witnesses the Inspector General already interviewed. Some Republicans even want to investigate whether anyone tampered with the Inspector General’s report or watered it down. They simply refuse to accept the Inspector General’s findings. The Republicans point to some individual expressions of bias, but these are facts the Inspector General already reviewed.
Instead, the Republicans are now tripling down—threatening to impeach Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray for somehow obstructing their efforts to get to the bottom of all of this.
They had a big meeting on Friday, by the way, Friday night, with Speaker Paul Ryan. No Democrats were invited, but this weekend, Chairman Gowdy described some of it during a press conference, press appearance. Apparently, after reading the Inspector General’s conclusions, House Republicans all decided that “the House of Representatives is going to use its full arsenal of constitutional weapons to gain compliance” with their never-ending demands regarding Hillary Clinton.
At this point, I think it’s crystal clear that the only answer Republicans will accept is that Hillary Clinton must be guilty. They will keep going and going until they get that answer, even if the facts will never support it, and even if multiple independent reviews come to exactly the opposite conclusion.
Republicans in Congress are only willing to use their full arsenal of constitutional weapons to attack Hillary Clinton or protect Donald Trump. Neither the Oversight Committee nor the Judiciary Committee has issued a single subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump or any other topic related to his administration—including the key moral and ethical issue of today, which is the President’s new policy to separate children from their parents.
And so I ask the question—and it is a simple question. Are we really going to sit here—70 members of Congress of the United States of America in 2018—and have a hearing that just repeats the hearings the Senate had yesterday on Hillary Clinton’s emails?
We sent letter after letter, letter after letter, asking these Committees to investigate the Trump Administration’s policy—which is now resulting in child internment camps. That’s what I said—child internment camps. But we have gotten no response.
Look, even if you believe people entered our country illegally, even if you believe they have no valid asylum claims in their own country, even if you believe immigration should be halted entirely—we all should be able to agree that in the United States of America, we will not intentionally separate children from their parents. We will not do that. We are better than that! We are so much better!
We should all be able to agree that we will not keep kids in child internment camps—indefinitely and hidden away from public view. What country is that?! This is the United States of America!
We now have reports that parents are being deported, but the Trump Administration is keeping their children here. 2018 in America.
We do not need legislation. This is a policy—and understand this—this was a policy invented, implemented, and executed by President Donald Trump.
And so in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we need you. Those children need you. And I am talking directly to my Republican colleagues. We need you to stand up to President Trump. We need you to join us in telling him that we reject this mean policy. We need you to tell him to abandon this policy. We need you to remind him that this is the United States of America—and it is a great country. And we need you to stand up for those children.