House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan demanded answers from committee Chairman Elijah Cummings Tuesday over the secret meetings he held with other House committee leaders related to their sweeping Trump-focused investigations. Jordan, R-Ohio, who first raised questions about a secret Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, between Cummings, D-Md., and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., last week, further pressed the committee’s top Democrat and suggested he violated House rules.
“Your nonpublic MOU with Chairwoman Waters cites no specific authority allowing you to execute an MOU that could affect future investigatory actions you take as chairman on behalf of the Committee,” Jordan wrote Tuesday. “I ask again whether you could explain the authority that allows you to execute an MOU that affects potential Committee action without first obtaining approval of Committee Members.” Jordan also outlined House rules, which authorize Cummings to “take specific, enumerated actions as chairman with respect to the Committee’s oversight and legislative business—convening hearings, initiating investigations, authorizing and issuing subpoenas, ordering depositions, and appointing task forces.” Jordan first raised questions about the secret Cummings-Waters meeting last week. The Washington Examiner first reported that Jordan accused Democrats of coordinating in secret related to their investigations into the president while keeping Republicans in the dark. The Examiner also reported that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was part of the secret meeting.
Last week Jordan demanded answers as to why Cummings held a meeting and did not “conduct with Republican Members of the Committee or allow Members to consider and debate the terms” of the MOU before holding it. “If you intend to continue to use the Committee’s limited resources to attack President Trump for political gain, I hope that you will at least be transparent about your actions,” Jordan wrote. “Your ability to function as a fair and unbiased finder of fact is now at grave risk. The Members of the Committee — and, more importantly, the American citizens we represent —deserve to know exactly how you are leading this Committee.”
A spokesperson for Cummings did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Jordan’s questions and Cummings’ meetings come amid sweeping Trump-focused investigations throughout the House of Representatives. Cummings’ committee is leading an investigation into the controversial security clearance process for Trump administration officials, and also subpoenaing materials related to the president’s personal finances. Last week, Cummings vowed to subpoena Trump’s accountant.
Meanwhile, Schiff’s committee is investigating the president’s foreign business dealings and Russian election meddling, maintaining that despite the results of Mueller’s probe, there is evidence of collusion. Schiff’s panel has also weighed subpoenaing the interpreter who was present for meetings between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to obtain notes from the summits.
Waters’ committee is also probing the president, coordinating with Schiff’s committee on money-laundering inquiries. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., is also involved. Schiff and Waters have together said they would run a joint investigation into Deutsche Bank—which has done extensive business dealings with the president. Last year, Schiff charged that Trump’s financial records with Deutsche Bank and Russia may reveal a “form of compromise” that “needs to be exposed.” Schiff has long maintained that there had to be some reason that the German banking giant, which he said has a “history of laundering Russian money,” was willing to work with the Trump Organization.