‘He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who since January had served as chair of the House Oversight Committee, was so dedicated to his efforts that he spent his final hours issuing subpoenas against President Donald Trump from his deathbed.
Aides said that Cummings remained active after being admitted to Baltimore‘s Johns Hopkins Hospital.
According to New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, he led a conference call from the hospital less than a week before his death early Thursday.
Cummings was active until the end, an aide tells me. He signed subpoenas from his hospital bed and as recently as Friday helped lead a Democratic caucus conference call. https://t.co/2qkxi4Em7O
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) October 17, 2019
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a fellow Maryland Democrat, previously had said Cummings spoke with Democrats on Sunday and had encouraged them to keep up the “heavy lifting.”
Even so, Cummings, who had garnered complaints from Republican colleagues over the staggering number of (largely ignored) congressional oversight subpoenas he had issued in his Trump investigations, continued signing them until the very end.
Despite unparalleled transparency during the Mueller investigation on Russian collusion and House Democrats’ latest Ukraine investigation, the Trump administration has refused to cooperate with many of the subpoenas, arguing that they do not serve a legislative purpose as mandated.
While a legitimate impeachment investigation would provide Congress with the grounds to file obstruction charges for that refusal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected all prior precedent by refusing to put the impeachment probe to a formal vote.
Trump’s 2016 presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, also notably disregarded congressional subpoenas when she deleted some 30,000 emails from a private server and colluded with the FBI to destroy additional evidence during an ongoing congressional investigation.
Cummings also had his share of ethical scandals, including accusations of tax fraud. He and his wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, were both under fire after a recent IRS complaint that she had mixed the funds for a nonprofit she oversaw with those of a similarly named for-profit business.
The complaint also charged that one of the organization’s biggest donors was Johnson & Johnson, which happened to fall under the oversight purview of the late congressman, and that there appeared to be a quid-pro-quo arrangement with the pharmaceutical powerhouse.
Rockeymoore Cummings—who also heads the Maryland Democratic Party—issued a formal statement on Twitter that praised her husband’s undying dedication to the task of impeaching Trump.
Statement regarding the passing of @RepCummings : “He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity… I loved him deeply and will miss him dearly.” — @MayaRockeymoore pic.twitter.com/OLXVdHydoO
— MD Democratic Party (@mddems) October 17, 2019