North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was one of several red state Democrats who lost in the 2018 elections to Republicans by completely failing to thread the needle between too much Trump love and being called Socialist baby-killing traitors by Trump daily. She was replaced by Republican Kevin Cramer, your basic frack and drill type. But this week, the freshman senator got a lesson in "never trust Donald Trump".
A Republican senator held up the confirmation of a White House budget official this week in an attempt to obtain sensitive information about border wall contracts he has been trying to steer to a major donor, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.
The emails show Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) blasting the “arrogance” of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after senior military officials told him the contracts contained sensitive, proprietary information provided by the companies that could not be shared.
In recent months, Cramer has touted his preferred construction firm, North Dakota-based Fisher Industries, and campaign finance records show the senator has received thousands of dollars in contributions from company chief executive Tommy Fisher and his family members.
Cramer put a temporary hold this week on the confirmation of Michael Wooten, a nominee for a senior post at the White House Office of Management and Budget. After Wooten was confirmed Thursday, Cramer lashed out at the Army Corps in private emails when he was told the contracting bids contain sensitive information.
“This is a woefully inadequate response and not what I was promised by the White House as a condition for releasing my hold on the confirmation of the nominee for the Federal Procurement Officer,” Cramer wrote, copying others at OMB, the White House and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“The fact that you all claim secrecy without [citing] statute makes me very suspicious,” he wrote. “I have decided to stay in DC another day and would like to see General Semonite in my office tomorrow.”
Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the top official at the Army Corps, went to Cramer’s office Friday to provide the senator with a private briefing. Cramer’s office released a statement afterward, vowing to hold the military engineers “accountable.”
“We received an update on wall construction and the bidding process, as well as a number of documents and the answers to questions we requested from the Army Corps,” the statement said. “I believe we have their attention and are in a position to succeed.”
Trump has redirected $3.5 billion in Defense Department funds to the border project and promised to build 500 miles of barrier before the 2020 election. Cramer said the president has bestowed him with special responsibilities to oversee progress.
“President Trump deputized Senator Cramer to work with the Army Corps to ensure their process is fair, transparent, and delivers the best possible deal for the American people,” Cramer’s statement read.
So Cramer took Trump at his word that he would be getting those construction contracts for his state, like he was bribed publicly...I mean "lobbied"...to get. But that didn't happen. Cramer then kicked up a fuss and brought in the Washington Post to let everyone know Trump screwed him over.
The question is how far Cramer is willing to take this, because we know how far Trump is.
Here's the kicker.
The North Dakota senator has repeatedly promoted Fisher, and Trump too has joined the effort, pitching the company in meetings at the White House and aboard Air Force One that have troubled military commanders and Department of Homeland Security officials.
They say it is highly unusual for a president to intervene on behalf of a private company seeking billions in federal contracts, and one of the reasons the Army Corps has long managed the procurement process is the military’s reputation for integrity and rectitude.
Well maybe that was true before, but all of you work for Trump now. Those days are over.