Dem lawmaker says Trump administration has kicked ethics standards 'to the curb'

Rep. Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceLee Zeldin responds to Ilhan Omar accusing him of 'bigotry' Ilhan Omar: Endorsement of Black-Jewish Caucus 'isn't an endorsement of Zeldin's bigotry' Pelosi honors 100th anniversary of women's right to vote MORE (D-Mich.) says the Trump administration is kicking ethics standards “to the curb.”

“I’m very concerned about classified, high-security clearances being given to nonmilitary, to nonpersonnel that do not meet the criteria for classified information, i.e., family,” Lawrence, who serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball in an interview that aired on Friday.

Lawrence said government officials have processes and protocols they are expected to follow and she argued that those who don't follow ethics standards should be held accountable.

"We have rules and we have processes and protocols that I’m expected to follow,” she continued. “This administration has just kicked that to the curb and you see these unexplainable activities.”

The Democratic congresswoman pointed to the Trump Organization, which owns Trump Hotels, as one just one example of the president's "unexplainable activities." 

Even though Trump resigned from his role and turned over management to his adult sons before his inauguration in January 2017, Lawrence argued that the president is still “reaping benefits” from the Trump Organization, which controls hotels and other properties around the world.

“He is actually reaping benefits from a relationship with a government that he is the chief executive office over … everyone knows it is illegal, it’s wrong and no one has held this president accountable,” Lawrence told Hill.TV.

After Democrats took control of the House, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question White House to block Conway from testifying over alleged Hatch Act violations MORE (D-Md.) sent 51 letters to the White House and various Trump Organization officials as part of a series of congressional investigations.

Democrats on the committee last month also opened an expansive probe into the White House’s handling of security clearances.

Cummings sent a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone demanding a slew of documents related to the security clearance process. This includes those related to background investigations and security clearances of both current and former officials like senior White House advisor Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump puts the cart before the horse in Palestine Negotiators face major obstacles to meeting July border deadline GOP launches 'WinRed' online fundraising site in response to Democrats' small-donor advantage MORE. Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law.

Lawrence insisted that Democrats are just doing the job they were “elected to do” when it comes congressional oversight.

“We are doing the work that we were elected to do and I stand by that,” she said. “This is not threatening, there has always been investigations, there’s always been oversight and we will do our job.”

— Tess Bonn