Cummings Drafts Proposed Subpoena to White House

May 21, 2017
Press Release

Cummings Drafts Proposed Subpoena to White House


Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2017)—During an appearance this morning on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, renewed his call for Chairman Jason Chaffetz to subpoena the White House for documents it has been withholding in response to a bipartisan request they made in March relating to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.  Cummings also prepared a draft subpoena for Chaffetz to consider signing.



In a prepared statement this morning, Cummings stated:


“The White House is obstructing our investigation on the Oversight Committee, covering up for General Flynn, and refusing to produce a single document that Chairman Chaffetz and I asked for in a bipartisan letter two months ago.  I have prepared a subpoena that the Chairman could sign today.  If he does not want to do that, we ask that he allow the Committee Members to vote on it.


“Legitimate, credible oversight of the White House is almost non-existent across the entire House of Representatives.  This problem is not limited to the Oversight Committee.  The White House has not produced a single document to the Oversight Committee, Judiciary Committee, or Intelligence Committee.  There is no longer any excuse to allow the White House to continue stonewalling.


“We need to know what the President, Vice President, White House Counsel, and others knew when they made General Flynn National Security Advisor and gave him access to our nation’s most highly classified secrets.  We don’t have any White House documents about the vetting process they used, whether General Flynn’s lawyers warned the White House that he was under investigation, contacts General Flynn had with the Russian ambassador, what the White House knew about General Flynn’s lobbying for Turkish interests, or why the President let General Flynn keep his security clearance even after Sally Yates warned that he was compromised.  That’s why we need the subpoena.”


Democrats have been pressing for a subpoena since  the White House refused to provide any documents in response to a bipartisan letter on March 22, 2017, to Chief of Staff Reince Priebus requesting that the White House produce a wide range of documents relating to Flynn’s contacts with foreign nationals, including documents relating to his vetting as National Security Advisor and his firing.


On April 19, 2017, the White House responded by refusing to provide a single document.  The White House admitted that it has responsive documents, but refused to provide them because they “are likely to contain classified, sensitive, and/or confidential information.”


On April 27, 2017, all Democratic Members of the Oversight Committee sent a letter pressing Chaffetz to obtain the documents, noting:  “Our Committee deals with classified, sensitive, and confidential information on a regular and routine basis, and this excuse is not a valid ground to withhold all documents from the Committee.”  The letter proposed a meeting with the White House, but Chaffetz refused.


On May 16, 2017, all Democratic Members of the Oversight Committee and the Judiciary Committee sent a letter calling the Republican response “anemic” and insisting that “the Oversight Committee schedule an immediate vote on a motion to subpoena the White House to produce the documents it has been withholding in response to the bipartisan request from Ranking Member Cummings and Chairman Chaffetz on March 22, 2017.”


The same day, Chaffetz tweeted that he has his “subpoena pen ready,” referring to a letter he wrote to the FBI requesting memos from Director James Comey about a meeting in which President Trump attempted to pressure him to shut down the criminal investigation into Flynn.  Although Cummings asked Chaffetz to send an identical document request to the White House, Chaffetz refused.


Chaffetz’s refusal to issue a subpoena to the White House or to allow a vote stands in stark contrast with his flurry of activity last September when he issued eleven unilateral subpoenas relating to the investigation of Secretary Clinton—an average of more than one subpoena each day during that period.


115th Congress