Today in an exchange between Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary Mnuchin continued to avoid Ranking Member Waters’ question concerning the Secretary’s lack of response to the Democrats’ May 23 letter regarding potential suspicious financial activity between Russia and the Trump Administration.
In the letter, Committee Democrats, led by Ranking Member Waters, requested that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) provide any records to the Committee that detail President Trump’s financial ties to Russia, as well as those of his family members and associates. The Financial Services Committee is responsible for examining and overseeing the operations of FinCEN, including its ongoing efforts to collect, analyze, and disseminate financial intelligence in support of law enforcement agencies’ investigative work.
Due to the lack of response from Secretary Mnuchin, Committee Democrats introduced a Resolution of Inquiry in order to obtain the documents from Secretary Mnuchin and FinCEN. Committee Republicans blocked the resolution on Tuesday.
Transcript of the beginning of the exchange is below:
Waters: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Mnuchin, I want to make sure that we are all operating here with the same understanding. Even though you were not sworn in, do you realize you are under oath?
Mnuchin: I do, thank you.
Waters: Thank you very much. Are you familiar with the May 23rd letter I sent to you along with several of my Democratic colleagues on this Committee?
Mnuchin: Yes I am.
Waters: Do you understand that this Committee not only has jurisdiction but a responsibility to oversee the activities of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network?
Waters: Given that the Treasury maintains these types of records and given your Departments statements that the agency “takes responsiveness to congressional requests very seriously and is committed to providing useful and appropriate responses to requests from Congressional members,” is there some reason why I did not get a response to the letter that I sent on May 23rd?
Mnuchin: So uh, Ranking Member Waters, first of all, let me thank you for your service to California. Being a resident of California, I appreciate everything that you’ve done…
Waters: Thank you very much, I don’t want to take my time up on how great I am. Reclaiming my time…
Mnuchin: I’ve also appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to meet with you several times…
Waters: Reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time.
Hensarling: The time belongs to the gentlelady from California.
Waters: Let me just say to you thank you for your compliments about how great I am but I don’t want to waste my time on me, I want to know about the May 23rd letter. You know about it – why did you not respond to me and my colleagues?
Mnuchin: I was going to answer that.
Waters: Just please go straight to the answer.
Mnuchin: Mr. Chairman, I thought when you read the rules, you acknowledged that I shouldn’t be interrupted.
Waters: Reclaiming my time. What he failed to tell you was when you’re on my time, I can reclaim it. He left that out so I’m reclaiming my time. Please, will you respond to the question of why I did not get a response, me and my colleagues, to the May 23rd letter?