Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, is now calling for Robert Mueller’s team to leak the unredacted version of the report.
“I wanna say to everybody, all of our whistleblowers, we need your help. Because the president and his lawyers are blocking all, every bit of information that we need to do our investigation. He has been trying to block us,” Cummings said Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation. “I beg you, whistleblowers, come out. Help us. Call us.”
URGENT CALL TO WHISTLEBLOWERS. ACT NOW TO PROTECT OUR REPUBLIC @RepCummings: "[W]e need your help because the president and his lawyers are blocking information that we need to do our investigation. I beg you, whistleblowers, come out, help us, call us." Retweet & RT Often. pic.twitter.com/YtAqZo2Y9j
— Christopher Alberto (@ChrisAlbertoLaw) April 21, 2019
Former federal prosecutor Christopher Alberto, who tweeted the exchange, followed up Cummings’ request of whistleblowers to come forward with information about how they can protect themselves.
“If you can assist @RepCummings or other congressional committees, I will explain whistleblower protections, build a top-notch legal team to protect you, then guide you through each step to maintain those protections & YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED ANY FEES OR COSTS,” Alberto tweeted.
Cummings’ call for leaks echoes that of Daniel Ellsberg, a former RAND Corporation contractor who leaked the Pentagon Papers and was subsequently charged under the Espionage Act (those charges were eventually dismissed). Ellsberg told Newsweek that a leak may be what’s needed in order for Congress to get the full story on whether or not Trump colluded with Russia or obstructed justice.
“I count on the Democrats to pursue all the conceivable legal/authorized ways for Congress to get the report,” Ellsberg said. “If and after those all fail, it sounds like something that would be appropriate and even mandatory to leak—like, for example, the 6000-page version of the Senate torture report, which is still being withheld—in a version that has been redacted appropriately (not politically) with respect to valid privacy or national security concerns. I imagine such a version has already been prepared though probably with excessive redaction.”
As Oversight chairman, Cummings has already launched multiple investigations into the Trump administration, as well as Trump’s businesses. Recently, President Trump’s legal team filed a lawsuit to stop one of the Oversight Committee’s subpoenas of Trump’s accountant. Trump’s lawyers argue the Oversight Committee is intruding on the job of the Department of Justice, but Cummings’ committee argued that the subpoena is necessary to follow up on the testimony of Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, when he said under oath that Trump had falsified information on financial documents.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.