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Cummings accuses Education Dept of blocking probe into attempted removal of internal watchdog

Cummings accuses Education Dept of blocking probe into attempted removal of internal watchdog
© Greg Nash

House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsWomen of color flex political might Black GOP candidate accuses Behar of wearing black face in heated interview Overnight Health Care: US won't join global coronavirus vaccine initiative | Federal panel lays out initial priorities for COVID-19 vaccine distribution | NIH panel: 'Insufficient data' to show treatment touted by Trump works MORE (D-Md.) has reportedly accused the Department of Education of blocking an investigation from his committee into the attempted removal of the agency's acting independent watchdog.

Cummings reportedly said that department officials did not turn over documents requested by his committee regarding the Trump administration’s attempt earlier this year to replace its acting inspector general (IG), according to Politico.

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Politico noted that the refusal to hand over documents comes after acting IG Sandra Bruce began investigating Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump creates federal council on global tree planting initiative | Green group pushes for answers on delayed climate report | Carbon dioxide emissions may not surpass 2019 levels until 2027: analysis Trump creates federal government council on global tree planting initiative Private schools prove reopening learning institutions safely can be done MORE’s decision to reinstate the federal status of an accreditor of for-profit colleges.

Cummings said his committee has only received seven pages of documents in response to his request, most of them “heavily redacted.”

He added in a four-page letter, written along with committee member Rep. Mark DeSaulnierMark James DeSaulnierDozens of Democrats plan to vote remotely in a first for the House Rep. DeSaulnier leaves ICU after 3 weeks to continue treatment for pneumonia Rep. DeSaulnier in critical condition due to pneumonia MORE (D-Calif.), that the Education Department is “obstructing our investigation and appears to be part of an unprecedented cover-up by the Trump administration across multiple Executive Branch agencies and departments.”

Cummings’s letter gave the department until June 10 to comply with his requests for documents.

Politico reported that Cummings’s investigation began in January after President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE chose Phil Rosenfelt, the Education Department’s deputy general counsel, to replace Bruce. The appointment was later rescinded following blowback from Democrats who said the selection was an attempt to interfere with the inspector general’s work.

The Hill has reached out to the Education Department for comment.