- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has joined the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
- The committee’s remit includes scrutinizing the White House and looking for corruption.
- Its agenda includes efforts to find more information about the relationship between President Donald Trump and Russia. It is due to question Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen on February 7.
- Republican committee members stymied Democratic members’ efforts to investigate Trump during the previous Congress.
- This is the 29-year-old’s second committee appointment after she joined the House Financial Services Committee, which has Wall Street regulation in its remit.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been given a seat on a second House committee, with a remit to seek out corruption and an agenda that includes President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia.
Ocasio-Cortez was among those announced Tuesday as new members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The body describes itself as the primary investigative committee in the US House of Representatives, with a remit to examine political abuse, fraud, and waste.
After the November midterm elections, the oversight committee has a Democratic majority and a Democratic chairman, which could change its dynamic substantially. Republican members had blocked several attempts by Democrats to investigate Trump during the previous Congress.
The committee is scheduled to hear testimony from Michael Cohen on February 7. Cohen was recently sentenced to three years in prison for an array of crimes he committed while serving as Trump’s personal attorney.
Lawmakers are expected to question him about payments made to women who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump, the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, and other contact between Trump’s 2016 campaign team and Russia.
Republicans in the committee have blocked several Democratic motions to investigate issues related to the Trump administration, part of 64 blocked subpoena motions since the 2016 election.
These are the titles of the blocked motions:
- Getting the Director of National Intelligence to testify before the Oversight Committee about the extent of the Russian threat to our country and our elections
- Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Withholding Documents on Emails
- White House Withholding Documents on Flynn’s Foreign Contacts
- Kushner Withholding Emails That Violate Presidential Records Act
- Department of Homeland Security Withholding Documents on Russian Attacks Against States Before Election
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the new committee chairman, previously complained that Republicans were making it hard for the committee to investigate the president.
“For the last two years, I have implored House Republicans to help us gather the facts about the crisis of corruption in the Trump administration,” he said in a press release on September 27. He will now have more ability to set the agenda.
The Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib were also named as new committee members on Tuesday.
“Our committee is the primary investigative body in Congress, and we will address the issues that affect the American people every day while we root out waste, fraud, and abuse,” Cummings said.
Tlaib drew wide attention when, after she was sworn in as a congresswoman on January 3, she said Democrats were “going to impeach the motherf—er,” referring to Trump.
This is Ocasio-Cortez’s second appointment to a congressional committee; she joined the House Financial Services Committee on January 16.
Ocasio-Cortez’s staff previously said she hoped to be on the influential House Ways and Means Committee, but she was not chosen by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to sit on it.
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