Top House Oversight Dem: Trump should not 'stand in our way of doing our job'

Rep. Elijah Cummings talks exclusively on "This Week" about the role a Democratic House will look to play as a check on President Trump and his administration.
7:02 | 11/11/18

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Transcript for Top House Oversight Dem: Trump should not 'stand in our way of doing our job'
war like posture. We start with two house Democrats who have the power to investigate the president. Jerrold Nadler and Elijah Cummings. Congressman Cummings, let me begin with you. You heard the president there. He said if Democrats investigate, it would be a war like posture. Are you ready to go to war? I'm not going to war with anyone. I'm going to do what the American people said they wanted us to do through this election, even in trump country they're saying we want transparency. We want honesty and integrity. They want something else. They want accountability with regard to this president. That is exactly what I'm going to do. If I'm blessed to have that opportunity and this is what the constitution requires. We'll do our part. George, I'm not going to be handing out subpoenas like somebody's handing out candy on Halloween. As a lawyer and officer of the court, I take subpoenas seriously. I plan to -- if I have to use them, they'll be used in a methodical way and it must be in the public interest. We have a lot to do. I'm laser focused on those issues that even president trump says he wants to work on, such as prescription drug prices, the high price of prescription drugs. Making sure we protect people with regard to pre-existing conditions. I must admit, that he just came late in saying that, but if he wants to do that, that's fine. We've got a lot of work to do and voting rights. We've got to deal with things like voting rights. We've got a lot on our plate. Don't have time -- I'm not worried about the threats. I want to do what the American people sent us to Washington to do. You're saying you can investigate and work on policy at the same time. What are your top oversight priorities? George, I want to look at some things that affect people on a day-to-day basis such as I said drug prices and health care issues. I also want to look at things like the census. We're having problems with regard to the trump administration wanting to put in a citizenship question which we know will discourage people from participating in the census. It's very important. That's right around the corner. We have to look at things like voter suppression. We cannot have a country where we have -- where it becomes Normal to do everything in folks' power to stop people from voting. There's no reason why in the United States of America people should be standing in line for four to five hours and basically being pushed away from the polls. As a Democrat over the last couple years, you wrote a lot of letters calling for oversight of the president, talking about the emoluments clause. Is that on the table? Definitely. We definitely want to look at the emolument clause violations. We want to look at things like the FBI building fiasco where the president injected himself in the debate as to where he thinks it should be located, we think to his benefit. We've got to figure out is he acting on behalf of the American people in a lots of his decisions or is he acting on his own behalf? There's something else we have to do. The president has two years left in his term. He spent almost his entire campaign talking about our infrastructure. We have to sit down -- he claims he wants to work with us. We need to sit down and address the issue of infrastructure. We've got bridges and roads that need repaired. We've got to do that. We can do that. Your colleague Adam Schiff said he wants to look into the idea of Amazon, whether the president tried to retaliate against Amazon because Jeff bezos owns "The Washington post" and whether he interfered in the Time Warner merger as a way to retaliate against CNN. Is that on the table? We may look into that. The president has constantly been messing with our postal service. Seems like he wants to privatize that. We have legislation right now, George that will cure that. We just got to put it on the floor. With the Democrats in control we can get the postal bill on the floor and save the postal system. Those are the kinds of things I want to do. I'm going to look at trump, president trump, but more importantly I'm going to try to work with our Republican friends to do things for the American people. They're tired of us not doing things. On that question of working with Republicans, are you willing to go back to the days where the subpoena power was shared with the minority? I'm going to share to a certain degree. I see subpoenas as really a method of last resort. As a lawyer, I know the power of a subpoena. Once you send somebody a subpoena, they've got to get a lawyer. There's a lot there. I'm hoping that we'll have consultation with the Republicans where we can agree, but if it comes down to me believing something is in the public interest, I want to do it deliberately. I'm going to do what I think is best. I'll do what the constitution demands we do. I would ask that the president not try to stand in our way of doing our job as members of the congress. I want to ask you about that. What are you going to do if the administration and the white house refuse to answer and comply with your subpoenas? We will cross that bridge when we get to it. I'm not going to deal with that hypothetical. I'm more optimistic than that. I promise you, we'll deal with that when we get to it. Nancy Pelosi democratic leader wants to run for speaker. Does she have your vote? She's got my vote. Nancy Pelosi has been battle tested. I've watched here -- I've said it many times. She's a phenomenal speaker. Now that we have all these women coming into the congress, it would be a damn shame that you didn't replace this fearless leader with a man. It's her time and, again, she's battle tested. I'm looking forward to working with her as my speaker. I'm going to vote for her and encourage my colleagues to vote for her.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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