Democrats seek criminal accusation against head inside Trump

Washington (AP) —Democrats of the House Natural Resources Commission on Wednesday helped Arizona developers get significant permits for housing projects, while the Trump administration’s interior secretary was involved in potential criminal activity? I asked the Justice Department to investigate.

According to a criminal referral, federal wildlife authorities have said they threaten the habitat of endangered species, but developer Michael Ingram, a Republican donor and supporter of former President Donald Trump. David Burnhart has asked for approval of the project.

Bernhard led the agency from 2019 to 2021. In 2017, he was the ministry’s second bureaucrat when the Home Office’s agency, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, overturned opposition to the village of Vinhet, which proposed housing development for 28,000 homes. Southern Arizona, and allowed it to move forward.

Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Katie Porter of California wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday. They said their committee had conducted an extensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2017 decision.

A high-ranking interior official said the issuance of a Clean Water Act permit for the project could adversely affect endangered species and important habitats in the area. The area is home to birds such as willow flycatchers and yellow-billed cuckoos in the southwest, and garter snakes in northern Mexico.

The Democratic Party states that Ingram met Bernhard in August 2017. This was two weeks before fish and wildlife officials received a call instructing them to overturn the decision to thwart the project. The meeting is not disclosed in Bernhard’s public calendar or travel documents.

Two months later, Ingram donated $ 10,000 to the Trump Victory Fund. The permit was approved later in the month.

“This decision strongly suggests that it was the result of a quid pro quad between Vignette developer Michael Ingram and senior Trump administration officials,” the Democratic Party said.

Bernhard, now a private lawyer, did not return a call for comment. A spokesman for the Department of Justice said the Department of Justice would receive the letter and consider it.

Parliamentarians urged Garland to investigate and consider filing criminal accusations against Bernhard and other officials. Grijalva chairs the Natural Resources Panel and Porter leads a subcommittee on surveillance and investigation.

“The results of this study again show that the previous administration has abandoned career staff expertise and made a pay-to-play-based federal agency decision to fellow Trump and large donors,” Griharva said. Said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The exchange of money for certain government actions is the most obvious form of corruption, and Americans (Democrats, Republicans, independents) share the understanding that this kind of quidproquart erodes our democracy. “I do,” Porter added.

Ranny Davis, a lawyer at Ingram-owned company El Dorado Holdings, called the referral by Griharva and Porter “false, misleading (and) unfair” and “used Innuend on behalf of the facts.” Stated.

In a statement, Davis said El Dorado attended several meetings with the Commission and “acted with complete transparency and cooperated fully without a subpoena.” According to Davis, he has a chance to talk to Grigalva.

“Unfortunately, Americans are paralyzed and accustomed to political attacks that have little to do with the truth. When this happens, bipartisan anger is needed,” said Bill, a prominent special counsel. Democrat Davis added. Clinton.


AP reporter Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.