Top Interior Dem calls for investigation into Zinke's call to Murkowski

Top Interior Dem calls for investigation into Zinke's call to Murkowski
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee is calling for a probe into whether President Trump’s Interior secretary threatened to retaliate against an Alaska senator for opposing the GOP healthcare measure this week. 

Both Alaska Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSessions torched by lawmakers for marijuana move Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy Trump's executive order on minerals will boost national defense MORE (R) and Dan Sullivan (R) said they received a call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Wednesday, informing them that the Trump administration will not support key projects in Alaska after Murkowksi voted against the GOP healthcare bill in the Senate a day before.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said in a statement Thursday that he plans to request a formal investigation into whether the Trump administration threatened the Alaska lawmakers, pointing out that he believes Zinke is serving Trump's "political vendetta" over the public interest. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“Running a department of the federal government means you serve the American people as a protector of their rights and freedoms,” Grijalva said. “It doesn’t mean you serve the president as a bag man for his political vendettas."

He went on to say that using “political blackmail” is an action that one could expect from the Kremlin, not a government agency.

“Secretary Zinke’s willingness to deliver these threats speaks volumes about his ethical standards and demonstrates that Interior’s policy positions are up for political grabs, rather than based on science or the public interest.”

Trump personally went after Murkowski the day after she voted against the GOP healthcare measures, tweeting that she “really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday.”