Democrats leading the House Oversight and Transportation committees wrote to the General Services Administration Wednesday demanding documents and answers in their five-month-old quest to learn whether President Donald Trump meddled in the FBI’s plan to build a new headquarters for his own benefit. …
Last year, the GSA and FBI announced that, instead of going to a new suburban location as had been the plan for years, the FBI would instead stay at its current location — just steps from Trump’s D.C. hotel — and replace the existing J. Edgar Hoover building with an entirely new facility.
The GSA inspector general eventually found that the agency had incorrectly low-balled what the new plan would cost, and also that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy had incorrectly told Congress that she hadn’t met with Trump to discuss the FBI staying at its current location, when photos showed that she had. The inspector general’s report also said that GSA officials had effectively been instructed by the White House counsel’s office not to disclose details about Murphy’s meeting with Trump.
In October, Democrats pressed the GSA and Murphy for answers. They also released internal communications from GSA and FBI officials who referred to “direction from WH,” “what POTUS directed everyone to do” and “the President’s instructions.”
The Democrats also noted Trump’s own about-face on the plan: Before becoming President, he expressed interest in taking over the FBI’s old stomping grounds. After his election— after “he lost his ability to bid on the FBI property,” Democrats noted — Trump insisted that the address was “prime real estate” and that the FBI needed to keep it.
The Democrats warned the GSA Wednesday: “If you fail to comply, we will be focused to consider alternative means to obtain compliance.”
Hallelujah, the Democrats are now in charge! When Republican Trey Gowdy was running the committee, he refused to send out subpoenas so the GSA was able to keep their dirty secrets hidden while shielding Trump. But no longer!
The article says “Emily Murphy incorrectly told Congress…” Mmm… It might be more accurate to say “Emily Murphy lied to Congress.” She’s yet another person who lied to protect Trump and is now facing the consequences. Case in point: Cohen lied for Trump, was caught, and will soon be reporting to prison. Meanwhile, Murphy must be having some sleepless nights.
Here’s Rachel Maddow’s take including reassuring words from Rep. Dina Titus that the investigation will now proceed vigorously – a refreshing contrast to Gowdy’s willful indifference.
UPDATE: Important Related Development
House Democrats are not the only ones investigating this scandal. Months ago, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a crucial relevant document from the GSA. However, the GSA so heavily redacted it as to make it virtually useless. But today a D.C. judge ordered the GSA to turn over a completely unredacted version. Once CREW has this new information in hand, they may help us find out whether or not Trump is guilty of pressuring a government agency for personal gain.
Source: “GSA ordered to release FBI HQ details previously redacted in FOIA request,” Federal News Network, March 6, 2019.