On Tuesday’s “Politics Nation” on MSNBC, Rep. Elijah Cummings lashed out at his House Oversight Committee collegue, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). According to Cummings, Issa had gone rogue in his duty as committee chairman.
Partial transcript as follows:
REV. AL SHARPTON, host “Politics Nation”: Joining me now is Congressman Elijah Cummings, Democrat — ranking Democrat at that, on the new Benghazi Select Committee. Nobody has fought the GOP’s scandal antics more than he has. Thank you for being here tonight, congressman.
CUMMINGS: Good to be with you, reverend.
SHARPTON: Didn’t Speaker Boehner say there would be just one Benghazi investigation? I mean, is Darrell Issa going rogue?
CUMMINGS: I think he is going rogue, reverend. That’s exactly right. When the Select Committee was established, Speaker Boehner said that everything would come under that select committee with regard to Benghazi. Chairman Issa decided that he wanted to issue a subpoena, subpoena, by the way, to Sen. [John] Kerry basically I think he wants to question them about why he isn’t getting documents as fast as he’d like. But really, reverend, all of that information should now be turned over to the Select Committee. but, again, I actually believe that Chairman Issa is out of control, I really believe that.
SHARPTON: Yeah, because when the secretary of state announced that they will — he will testify before Chairman Issa’s committee next month, the State Department says, and I’m quoting, “This would remove any need for the secretary to appear before the Select Committee to answer additional questions.” Now, in effect, Issa, isn’t he undermining fellow Republicans and the Select Committee by doing this?
CUMMINGS: No doubt about it. Basically, what he’s done is the Select Committee may very well have wanted to hear from Secretary Kerry, but now Issa will try — will bring him in because the secretary has already agreed to come in, he’s going to come in June, and he will then give his testimony. But keep in mind if Issa really wanted to hear about some records that he hadn’t gotten, it would have been far more effective to bring in the custodian of records or somebody who was actually in charge of the records. keep in mind, when Benghazi took place, Secretary Kerry was not even in –
CUMMINGS: So actually it makes no sense. but also keep in mind, reverend, that this is really very, very political. These folks are going around, that is the Republicans, raising money with regard to the death of these four members of the diplomatic core. That to me is a very harsh thing to do. But they see nothing wrong with it. Speaker Boehner sees nothing wrong with it. To his credit, the chairman of the Select Committee is saying, you know what, I’m not going to raise any money like this. The Democrats, all Democrats have made it clear that they’re not going to do it. certainly the Democrats on the Select Committee are not going to do it. But yet still the Republicans are going around raising money, having all kinds of commercials, and using the deaths of our diplomatic corps to raise money. Reverend, I think it’s despicable.
SHARPTON: Speaking of Gowdy, who is the GOP chair of this Select Committee, he had to pack pedal after referring to the investigation, as a trial. Listen to this.
SHARPTON: Did the congressman in effect give away what’s going on here that this is really about putting the administration on trial and not trying to find out what’s happening?
CUMMINGS: I think it was his world, but everybody knows Rep. Gowdy, who I have a lot of respect for, is an outstanding prosecutor, and he has shown that skill within our committee. But I do believe that there is a ting of what Issa has done in the past because Chairman Gowdy has made some statements like Chairman Issa where you make a statement that’s sort of inflammatory that makes the headlines, but then you go in search of the facts and usually the facts aren’t eve therein. One of the things I’ve asked Chairman Gowdy to do is let’s figure out what we can agree on since we already have eight investigations that are thing and figure out what the complete, and then limit this scope of what we are looking for is so that we’re not looking for basically on a fishing expedition, rev. you have to limit it and say this is what we’re looking for. Hopefully we’ll have those answers by Thursday.
SHARPTON: Thank you so much for your time tonight.