The influential US lawmaker Elijah Cummings, at the center of the political trial investigation of President Donald Trump, died Thursday at age 68, his spokesmen said.
The veteran Democratic congressman, representing Baltimore in Congress since 1996, died at Johns Hopkins Hospital "due to complications related to long-standing health problems," his office said in a statement without specifying the cause of death.
Cummings was the chairman of the House of Representatives Supervision and Reform Committee, one of the three who are carrying out the investigation that may end in Trump's impeachment, with whom he had repeatedly faced in recent months.RELATED
The investigation examines whether the president tried to get Ukrainian help to obtain incriminating information about former vice president Joe Biden, one of the best-positioned Democratic candidates to contest Trump's reelection in 2020.
Cummings had also touched on the issue of migrants
Elijah Cummings had also supervised investigations into the Trump administration's treatment of migrants on the Mexican border, and about his attempts to include a question about the nationality of respondents in the next census.
Democrats feared that this controversial issue, finally banned by the Supreme Court, would end up affecting representation in Congress of states with strong immigrant communities, also reducing their access to federal funds.
Trump extended condolences over Cummings death
This Thursday, Trump put aside his enmity with the Democrats to extend his condolences to Cummings' family and friends.
"I could see firsthand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader. His work and his voice on many fronts will be very difficult, if not impossible, to replace!" He wrote on Twitter.
In July, Trump had said that the city of Baltimore was a "rat and rodent infested disaster" unfit for humans and blamed it on Cummings, an African-American who has represented much of the black majority city in Congress in the last 23 years.
Trump suggested that Cummings spend more time in his city, to which the legislator replied:
Mr. President, I go home to my district every day. Every morning, I get up and I will fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to supervise the Executive Power. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents. "
A graduate in political science and then in law, Cummings, a big man with a resonant voice and a gift for oratory, was the son of sharecroppers in South Carolina who moved north to improve their living conditions.
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