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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins House Committee on Oversight and Reform

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been given a Democrat seat on a second House committee, with a remit to scrutinise potential corruption, and an agenda which includes President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia.

Ocasio-Cortez was among those announced on Tuesday as new members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Tuesday. The body describes itself as the primary investigative committee in the US House of Representatives, with a remit to examine political abuse, fraud, waste.

The committee is trying to investigate parts of the Trump administration, though Republican members have blocked several attempts in the previous Congress.

The new comittee has a Democrat majority and chairman, which could change the dynamic substantially.

The committee will hear testimony from Michael Cohen on February 7. Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer was recently sentenced to three years in prison.

They are expected to question him about the payments made to women who say they had extramartial affairs with Trumpotential hush payments, the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, and other contact between Trump’s 2016 campaign team and Russia.

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, leaving a hearing on August 21, 2018.
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Republicans in the committee have blocked several Democrat motions to investigate issues related to the Trump administration, part of a total 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.

President Donald Trump walks on the White House South Lawn on Saturday, January 19, 2018.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the new comittee chairman, previously complained that Republicans are 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 wrote in a press release on September 27. He will now have more ability to set the agenda himself.

Progressive Democrats Ro Khanna, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib were also named as new committe members on Tuesday.

Cummings said: “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.”

At a reception after Tlaib was sworn in as a congresswoman on January 3, she s aid the Democrats were “going to impeach the motherf—er,” referring to Trump.

This is Ocasio-Cortez’s second appointment to a congressional committee, after 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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