Politics

‘Politicized Conduct’: House Republicans Blast Elijah Cummings’ Border Trips

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

Republicans are blasting House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings for his conduct atop the committee, and they are calling on him to properly answer questions regarding trips to Mexico by Democratic members.

Ranking Member Jim Jordan called out Cummings, a Maryland Democrat who leads the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, on Tuesday for failing to properly answer GOP questions pertaining to a series of trips taken by Democratic staffers while they were visiting border detention centers, according to a letter exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“We appreciate your explanation of your staff’s “wrong turn” into Tijuana while heading to the San Ysidro Port of Entry. However, you regrettably ignored several of our questions and concerns about your work with Rep. Escobar in Ciudad Juarez,” the letter read. “Instead, using cherry-picked quotations, you criticized us for asking reasonable questions about your unusual conduct.”

The letter was a follow-up by Republicans on the Oversight Committee, who had asked Cummings on Monday about two trips to Mexico taken by Democratic members of the committee earlier this year.

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan speaks during a mark-up hearing where members may vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for not providing an unredacted copy of special prosecutor Robert Mueller's report in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill May 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan speaks during a mark-up hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill May 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

During one of the trips, Texas Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar allegedly coached illegal immigrants in Ciudad Juarez on how to skirt U.S. immigration laws. Escobar, for her part, has called the report a “fabricated story” driven by “xenophobia and misinformation.”

Escobar, a Democrat that represents a congressional district in the El Paso area, is not a member of the Oversight Committee, and it’s still not entirely clear why she was a part of the trip.

Jordan’s letter on Tuesday not only accused Cummings of not properly answering GOP questions regarding the trips, or Escobar’s role, but also noted that Cummings’ explanation for entering Mexico was because staffers made a “wrong turn” into the country.

“There is absolutely no way the Democrats could have mistakenly made a wrong turn into Mexico, while simultaneously driving by a well-marked point of entry on a major highway. The real issue here is why the Democrats crossed into Mexico at all. We still really don’t have answers. The Democrats’ answers, so far, have been suspicious at best,” a source close to the State Department and with direct knowledge of the border trip said to the Daily Caller News Foundation said Tuesday. (RELATED: Trump Administration Proposes Scrapping Deadline On Work Permits For Asylum Seekers)

The letter went on to deride Cummings’ behavior since taking over the committee gavel.

Jordan noted the Maryland Democrat’s previous denial of there being a humanitarian and security crisis as the border, a tweet distributed by Oversight Democrat of caged migrants children that was actually taken in 2014 under the Obama administration, his accusation of border security officials having an “empathy deficit,” and his reliance on the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center as a resource.

“Your entire course of conduct in investigating the Administration’s border security efforts has been in pursuit of facts to fit your preconceived political narrative,” the letter continued. “No matter how hard you try to spin your conduct, you cannot legitimize your politicized oversight.”

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