Elijah Cummings: 'Jason Chaffetz appears to be taking marching orders directly from Trump’s tweet'
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) at House Oversight Committee hearing (Screen capture)

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, blasted Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Thursday for launching a "fishing expedition" into whistleblowers instead of investigating President Donald Trump's ties to Russia.

Chaffetz, who spent millions of dollars investigating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has rebuffed calls to look into why Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and other members of the president's team allegedly had repeated contact with Russians during and after the 2016 campaign.

Instead, the Utah Republican asked Trump's Inspector General to look into the leaks that exposed Flynn. Chaffetz's request was made just hours after Trump wrote on Twitter that "un-American" leakers were divulging secrets "like candy."

"Chairman Chaffetz appears to be taking his marching orders directly from President Trump’s tweet yesterday," Cummings said in a statement on Thursday. "[I]nstead of investigating General Flynn’s lies to the Vice President and the American people, as well as his troubling ties with Russia, the Chairman chose to target those who brought them to light."

"Congress should be doing independent oversight of the Executive Branch and protecting whistleblowers, not running interference while the White House conceals their abuses and misleads the American people for weeks," Cummings added. Chairman Chaffetz said he didn’t want to go on ‘fishing expeditions,’ but that’s exactly what he’s doing here.”