Published by BUSINESSINSIDER.COM
Summary generated on August 10, 2020
Top Democratic watchdogs in Congress are worried that President Donald Trump, his staff, and cabinet officials could withhold critical documents, delete emails, and refuse to cooperate with an incoming transition team if Joe Biden wins the White House in November.
That's all illegal, but senior Democrats have watched as the president and his team have repeatedly rejected their attempts at congressional oversight, and are warning that an outgoing Trump administration might defy the laws that require the preservation of government documents.
The Democrats have already got a preview of what they fear is to come: The Trump White House has so far failed to respond to numerous document requests and prevented administration officials from testifying before Congress on contentious issues.
Trump's critics on Capitol Hill say the administration's stonewalling - the issue was a driving force behind one of the two articles of impeachment against Trump adopted by the House last December - is unprecedented.
The presidential election is still three months out but Democrats already want to send clear warnings to Trump and his allies that anyone who illegally destroys records during a presidential transition could face prosecution.
David Marchick, director of the Center for Presidential Transition at the good-government advocacy group, the Partnership for Public Service, told Insider earlier this month that those documents show the Trump administration appears to be taking the implementation of transition laws seriously.
Trump administration officials - including advisers Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner - have since come under fire for using personal email accounts and messaging services like WhatsApp for government business.
A senior Trump administration official told Insider in an email that it is "Beyond laughable that these Democrats who defended Hillary Clinton's destruction of public records and use of a private server for classified information would have the audacity to raise any concern about preserving records."
"House Democrats have no governing agenda beyond targeting President Trump out of personal disdain for him and his supporters," said Kentucky Rep. James Comer, the top Republican on the oversight panel.
On Capitol Hill, Connolly said Democrats are preparing to advance legislation that addresses the Trump administration's behavior, including ignoring subpoenas and defying congressional oversight.