Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the House Oversight Committee. Seriously.
The 29-year-old former bartender who has been a member of Congress for less than three months sits on one of the most important committees in government (yet she still finds time to complain about $7 croissants at LaGuardia Airport).
On Tuesday, the chairman of the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) , called on the Democratic socialist during a hearing into allegations from a whistle blower that the Trump administration granted security clearance to some who had been denied because they had “serious disqualifying issues.” For reference in the video and transcript below, one top House Democrat has alleged that President Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, also a presidential adviser, had used a a web application called WhatsApp to communicate with foreign leaders.
So Cummings called on the rising star, who the head of the Democratic National Committee has called “the future of the party,” to pontificate on the ramifications of the president of the United States deciding who in administration gets top security clearances.
“Thank you, Mr. Chair,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Uh, I think it’s important that we re-focus on what is at stake here, in this, uh, investigation in this matter. We are getting reports from the press and from a, a wide variety of sources that indicate that, uh, you know, that, that, people are, f-folks, you know, folks are suggesting that we are conducting foreign relations with folks with security clearances via Whatsapp! I mean, every day that we go on without getting to the bottom of this matter is a day that we are putting hundreds if not potentially thousands of Americans at risk. I mean, really, what is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs? This is ridiculous! We need to get to the bottom of this!”
Ocasio-Cortez, joining others in the party who now want more investigations into Trump — especially since the special counsel Robert Mueller has found no criminal activity connected to collusion with Russia during the 2016 election — said Democrats should force White House officials to testify before Congress.
“In order to do that we have to issue subpoenas because people in this administration are not cooperating. And every day that there is an insecure line of communication that could be leaked, that could be hacked, that could be screen-shotted, without, with- without, uh, proper channels, is a day that we are putting our national security at risk. So the reason that we have to conduct and, and, and have these accommodations is because we are a committee that is committed to protecting whistle blowers.”
Boy, if only AOC was in Congress a few years ago, when Hillary Clinton was found to have set up as secret email server in a bathroom at her New York home through which thousands of emails passed with the knowledge of government officials — a highly hackable server, at that. We still don’t know what was in those emails because the former Secretary of State destroyed tens of thousands of email she and her top staff sent on the secret server.
Ocasio-Cortez continued: “”It is soooo serious, especially as a New Yorker. Especially as, as, as — anyone,” she said as she gave a high-school-style lesson on what the Oversight Committee does (it conducts oversight!). “Every day that we have an insecure line of communication, we have a responsibility to investigate it and to make sure that that is, uh, that, that we get to bottom of it. I just needed to put that note in.”
Cummings then chimed in: “Thank you for your very eloquent comments.” The chairman — better known as “Mr. Chair” — also pontificated for a while before throwing it back to AOC.
“And, and I’d also like , um, indicate and, and, and note that some of the folks that, uh, may have insecure, you know, had, had their clearances overrode — or recommendations against giving them the clearance overrode — are, even, custodial staff. And folks would say, ‘Oh, that’s not important. That, that overriding a security clearance for a custodial staff is not a big deal.’ But first of all, every member of this government is important and has access to important information and has power. And especially when we’re talking about people who have physical pres- presence and access to secure and sensitive physical spaces in the White House? To be, uh, to be potentially compromised is extremely concerning.”
.@RepAOC @AOC: "Every day that we go on without getting to the bottom of this matter is a day that we are putting hundreds if not potentially thousands of Americans at risk. I mean, really, what is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs?!? This is ridiculous." pic.twitter.com/EkTPWbwIn4
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 2, 2019
*Joseph Curl ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2014 and covered the White House for a dozen years. He can be can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter at @JosephCurl.