Cummings accuses GOP of stalling Trump probe

The top-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday accused Republicans of slow walking their probe into President Donald Trump's interaction with fired FBI director James B. Comey.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Baltimore, an outspoken critic of the Trump administration amid questions about Russia's involvement in last year's elections, said Republicans on his committee are "ignoring these scandals" and accused the White House of obstruction.

Cummings' comments came a day after the Republican chairman of the oversight committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, requested any records the FBI has describing communication between Comey and Trump and wrote on social media that his "subpoena pen was ready."

The request followed a report in The New York Times that Comey kept memos describing his interactions with Trump and that the president leaned on him to close the investigation into former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn.

"It is obvious that we need to subpoena the White House," Cummings said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. "We also need a hearing with Director Comey in public. We need to restore credibility, accountability [and] transparency by passing legislation to create a truly independent commission."

Calls for a deeper investigation into the White House intensified Wednesday on Capitol Hill and Republican lawmakers were once again peppered with questions about Trump and Russia rather than their agenda on tax reform, health care and infrastructure. There were signs of strain within the GOP as some lawmakers said the daily drama from the administration was distracting.

But in his own press conference Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he still has confidence in the president and warned against "rushing to judgment." Ryan said Congress was "going to want to hear from Mr. Comey.

"Now is the time to gather all the pertinent information," Ryan said. "There's clearly a lot of politics being played. Our job is to get the facts and be sober about doing that ... The last thing I'm going to do is to prejudge anything."

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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