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Rep. Elijah Cummings, key figure in Trump impeachment inquiry, has died at age 68

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, was chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, one of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. [File photo]
October 17, 2019

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat and a key figure in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, has died following a medical procedure, several news organizations reported Thursday morning. He was 68.

A release from his office said that Cummings passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore early Thursday morning, WBAL-TV reported.

The release said that the congressman passed away due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges but did not provide details.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee had not been seen at the Capitol for a little more than a month. Oversight and Reform is one of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry of Trump.

His office continued to introduce legislation and conduct other business while Cummings was away, and the committee has issued statements from him.

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Cummings was among three Democratic committee chairmen to sign a letter last month accompanying a subpoena seeking documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo related to the inquiry into whether Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the former vice president. House Democrats have since issued additional subpoenas.

As chairman of his House committee, Cummings led multiple investigations into Trump’s governmental dealings. The investigations angered the president, who criticized the congressman’s district in July in a Tweet as a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”

Trump also suggested Cummings spend more time in his district.

Cummings replied on Twitter: “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

Cummings was first elected to Congress in 1996. He became chairman of the Oversight and Reform after Democrats won control of the U.S. House in the 2018 elections.

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© 2019 The Columbus Dispatch