U.S.A Powerful Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings has died

 Powerful Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings has died

Good morning everyone I'm vipul patidar green with some breaking news this morning Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings has died his office released a statement saying that he passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital to the complications concerning long-standing health challenges representative Cummings was most recently

The chair of the House Oversight Committee one of the panels involved in the impeachment inquiry into the president he has been battling some health issues since earlier this year and hasn't been available for a vote since early September coming started serving in Congress in 1996 born and raised in Baltimore Cummings began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates congressman Cummings was 68 years old so CBS news political correspondent ed O'Keefe is joining me on the phone.

To talk a little bit more about this so at first off explain Cummings career in Congress well anne-marie he'd been a career public servant from the Baltimore area his district encompasses most of the city and surrounding counties and before coming to Congress in 1996 he's been a member of the Maryland House delegate so somebody who knows.

The Free State and his city of Baltimore quite well and has been an essential lifeline for them to Washington over these many years a veteran lawmaker one of the few remaining members of the house Democratic caucus who was around the last time Congress underwent impeachment proceedings for a president he would have been a junior lawmaker then at this point was a senior one and somebody who had direct involvement or at least you know connection and oversight to the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee is a is a critical one one of the most powerful because it has subpoena power it has the ability to investigate virtually any part of the federal government and if people don't comply with their request for information they can drag them in with the force of the subpoena the committee had sort of expanded its scope in the past years to beyond the federal government to look at things like prescription drug pricing and some other issues of concern but forever has been known really as the place where if the Congress wants to learn something how service.

I can drag him in perhaps most recently people will remember that Cummings was chairman over the hearings involving Michael Cohen the president's former fixer and while his committee has been involved in impeachment it hasn't taken the lead role by any means nor has Cummings in part because of his health concerns they've merely been using the committee and I shouldn't say merely but they've been critically using the committee's professional investigative staff and its subpoena power in order to compel.

The witnesses that have been coming to Congress over the last few weeks or so to show up share the information and learn more about what went on with the president but Cummings you know somebody who was quite familiar to reporters certainly who cover Congress a bit of a emotional and you know just a morale-boosting member of the House Democratic caucus who always availed himself to reporters and was known to be a very collegial and friendly guy with members of both parties yeah.

I re call may be just a few months ago when the president tweeted out that tweet about the squad saying that maybe they should go back where they came from Elijah Cummings sort of got into a bit of a spat with him the president was critical of Marilyn and why Elijah Cummings kind of fought back but in general he appeared to me to be very measured when it came to his criticism clear plain spoken but measured when it came to his criticism of the Trump administration and really deferring to Nancy Pelos i when it came to moving forward with impeachment yeah and that's a good way of describing.

It this very even-keeled you know someone who you know took those attacks but but didn't you know necessarily overreact to them even though some would probably say overreaction was probably warranted there he was saying talking smack about his hometown basically but I think that speaks into a professional career and a life's experience for instance that Cummings had that many of his colleagues didn't he lived in inner-city ball two more I remember as a congressional reporter in my previous life talking to him at length at one point about the that the murder of his nephew Christopher who had been a college student at Old Dominion in Virginia and was killed in a in a gun related crime and how you know that murder had haunted him and his family because it remains unsolved you know this is a guy who I think had experiences beyond.

The rough-and-tumble of partisan politics that really colored and and helped sort of clarify for him what was a big deal and what was yeah we have very few of those people in public life not only from the inner city but I think of an advanced age who you know have seen things and have done things that sort of allow them to maybe take a deep breath before reacting to the ways of politics these days and and that perhaps is one of the contributions that would be most missed yeah that I think it's a really good observation.

I was just sort of quickly reading an interview that he had done with the Baltimore Sun particularly how you know the president's tweet about the squad going back to where they came from made him remember being you know a young person trying to integrate a pool in Baltimore and the backlash and how he still had a scar on his forehead from when a bottle was thrown at him and in that interview he said he often goes back to a book and I'm gonna sort of Massacre the title a little bit but the title had something to do with don't sweat the small stuff and he talked about how it reminded him not to get sort of mired in these little political spats when what you're really trying to do is make this country a better place for the next generation exactly and I think that's the kind of perspective that he brought to that incident over.

The summer with the president that outraged many and you know obviously as we were call dominated news coverage for three or four days but you know one guy who went in here or see too much from in the mists event it was Elijah comics that was partly because of his health issues it was somewhat confined to dealing with that but also because I think he understood look you know president can say that but he doesn't know the neighborhood and there are bigger fish to fry mm-hmm so you know to his health issues we do remember him questioning Cohen and he had sort of a you know robust opening statement and it really sort of didn't really occur to me until you know reading about his passing that I in fact have not seen him a lot recently can you tell us what's been going on with his health it's been heart related to some extent but he's also been using a walker or one of those motorized really.

I think for the past at least three years because I can recall seeing him off and on either in that scooter or or using a walker you know a lot of this was heart related but his office said though is clarified what exactly it was up you know I remember one morning he came in to face the nation to talk to Margaret Brennan but clearly was you know struggling with with his own houses and mobility and then was very sensitive to being seen on camera at least in that scooter he would often sort of stop it short of cameras and then get up and walk to the cameras and then walk back but then used that scooter that's partly because you know Capitol Hill is paved with with marble hallways and it's a lot of walking that gets done and for anyone it could be a bit much but you know so he was sensitive to it but yes he had been dealing with this off and on for many years and given his proximity to Washington.

He had the advantage of being able to go home every day essentially he's needed because it's only about a 45-minute ride for him from Baltimore but this was an issue that bit the testament to the Oversight Committee though is that it's the kind of operation that will continue to run in his absence because it does have these professional nonpartisan investigators on staff actually they wouldn't be nonpartisan they are democratic or republican but but they are known to be the best investigators on the hill and the kind that know the issues deeply and well we continued to be called upon over.

The course of the impeachment issue certainly as at the point now so then you know what sort of impact do you think losing him will have it'll be a it'll be a morale blow to the house Democratic caucus because again he was kind of a one of those that you'd find that the sort of emotional center of him is the kind of guy that would be prone to stand up perhaps in a caucus meeting and say hey you know we got to do this then here's why or rest you gotta get in line things like that but you know again from her and this isn't in any way meant to diminish his legacy or his role in all of this given that the House Intelligence Committee especially in the Judiciary Committee eventually will take the lead on on the impeachment issue from an immediate standpoint there won't be much of a practical effect on the ongoing probe but I think obviously Congress will likely pause here in the coming days to really reflect on him the one thing and I bet you we will hear more about this later today that stands out in Cummings's or recent legacy is that he had a very close personal relationship with Congress and Mark meadows.

The Republican from North Carolina who's the former head of the house freedom caucus and is very close to President Trump they served together is the chairman and ranking member of the committee in one way or another over the last few years and yet had developed a very close personal bond because you know that that's how it should be frankly right and even you should see counterparts working together they talked about it extensively in various interviews and and let others said that you know he'd been struck by the friendship he developed with some exit it comes from you know part North Carolina that does not look at all like Baltimore their politics are completely different but it was a testament to their ability to sort of understand that they had to work together and that they developed a closer bond when I suspect well we'll hear a little bit more about that from congressman meadows at least later today or in the coming days all right echoes of days gone by because we don't see a lot of that now ed O'Keefe thank you so much if you were just tuning in we are talking about.

The life of congressman Elijah Cummings just to bring you up to speed u.s. representative Elijah Cummings of Baltimore died this morning according to his office he died at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications concerning long-standing health challenges and ed O'Keefe just mentioned that he had had some issues with his knees but also with his heart he had there was a planned medical procedure before the most recent recess the congressional recess but the expectation was that he was going to return and when he didn't certainly there was some concern because he is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee one of the three committees that are participating in the inquiry into the impeachment he was 68 years old and as we continue throughout the rest of the day we're gonna bring you more news as we get it and of course reflect on his life in public service and beyond.thanks

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