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Democratic Women’s Working Group Leadership Responds to Oversight Committee Chairman’s Refusal to Investigate Trump

WASHINGTON, DC – Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy declined the Democratic Women’s Working Group’s request to investigate the sexual abuse allegations against President Trump. His response comes after the leadership of the Democratic Women’s Working Group (DWWG), Reps. Lois Frankel (FL-21), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), and Jackie Speier (CA-14) sent a letter, signed by 152 Members of Congress, requesting a Congressional investigation. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 70 percent of Americans say the U.S. Congress should investigate accusations of sexual harassment against Donald Trump.

Upon receiving Chairman Gowdy’s refusal, Reps. Frankel, Lawrence, and Speier sent a letter in response, reading in part:

“You declined to undertake our request and that of the overwhelming majority of the public with the rationale that, “This Committee, nor any other Committee of Congress, does not, and cannot, prosecute crimes.” We appreciate that you recognize these allegations as potential crimes. That said, our request did not ask for a prosecution, but rather an investigation into serious allegations of sexual abuse by Donald Trump.

In fact, OGR has conducted a wide range of investigations that involved allegations of criminal activity, even when parallel prosecutions were underway by the Justice Department.

…While your referral to the Department of Justice (DOJ) recognizes these allegations as criminal, it does not deal with an issue important to the American people. We do not believe a referral to DOJ absolves Congress of its own responsibility to get to the truth and set a standard that victims of sexual crimes can come forward and have a platform to be heard, while at the same time allowing the President to present evidence in his defense.

At a time when women across the country are coming forward with their own harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault at all levels of society, your reluctance to investigate sends the absolute wrong message. It tells women that powerful leaders are unwilling to investigate this serious misconduct and creates a chilling effect on victims coming forward. It protects the President instead of giving victims the right to be heard."

The full text of the letter is available here.