Wilbur Ross refuses to testify while erroneously redefining everyone’s job

Patrick Leahy and Wilbur Ross

Is the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross awake? Really awake? Anyone who has seen Ross speak may have to wonder. Now the House Appropriations Committee has revealed that Ross is attempting to avoid testifying about the Commerce Department’s budget, using an excuse so lame it seems to have been written in his sleep.

Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has some serious allegations about Ross concerning his role in attempts to add the question of citizenship status to the US Census.

In a Twitter post, the House Appropriations Committee explained that Ross refuses to testify about Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget, which is central to his role as Commerce Secretary. Why?

“My appearance…would unfortunately distract from the Department’s important business before the subcommittee,” is Ross’ response.

Ross is opting to send in Deputy Karen Dunn Kelley to speak on his behalf. Maybe she is awake? Nevertheless, the Subcommittee refused his offer and wanted to see Ross instead. Ross has responded that he would rather send in his bureau heads to face scrutiny.

So what will it take to see Secretary Ross step up and do his job? A subpoena perhaps? Sadly that’s the state of our government today under the Trump administration.

Senator Patrick Leahy revealed why he thinks Ross is avoiding testimony, and it’s jaw-dropping.

“Yesterday Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross refused to testify before House Appropriators. On Tuesday he was a no-show before me & other Senate Appropriators. That’s too bad, because I have a few Qs about how he misled me the last time he testified before Congress.”

In the Twitter thread, Leahy lays out some shocking evidence that Ross lied to him one year ago about his “sudden interest in adding the controversial citizenship question to the 2020 Census.” According to Leahy, Ross claimed, “the Justice Department is the one who made the request.”

Leahy continues to show evidence that Ross lied. An email a year prior to his testimony before Leahy, he “emailed his staff claiming he was ‘mystified why nothing had been done in response to my months old request that we include the citizenship question.'”

In more emails from around the same time, Leahy finds something shocking, which he presents with pictures to back up his claims.

“And here is Ross receiving an email, again almost a year before his testimony, from Kris Kobach—an architect of VOTER SUPPRESSION efforts—detailing a call they had had “months earlier” on the importance of including the question for determining representation in Congress.”

The decision to add a question about citizenship to the US Census appears to have been at the direction of former White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon.

“Here’s another email from Kris Kobach detailing that his discussion with Ross about adding a citizenship question was at the direction of none other than Steve Bannon.”

Not only that, but Leahy claims that Ross was ready to pressure then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to include the citizenship question to the Census.

“Here is Ross ready to call AG Sessions to pressure DOJ to support including the citizenship question.”

Leahy then reveals that the DOJ declined to raise the question about altering the Census.

“Here’s an email to Ross from his staff detailing how DOJ “DID NOT WANT TO RAISE THE QUESTION” of citizenship given the controversies DOJ was already handling. That certainly doesn’t sound like Commerce “was responding solely to [DOJ’s] request” as Ross testified.”

Leahy’s only rational conclusion is that Ross blatantly lied and can’t hide from the facts by sending others in his place.

“Thanks to these emails, we now know Ross’s testimony was false,” reads the final Tweet.

“As I said on the Senate Floor this week, Ross is not an investment banker anymore.”

“He must answer to Congress & the American people. Hiding will not solve his problems. The truth has a way of catching up.”

It sure looks like Wilbur Ross wants to hide under his desk right now. Thanks to people like Senator Leahy, he may not find it an option much longer.

Featured image: Leahy and Ross via Wikimedia Commons