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Rep. Elijah Cummings said Thursday that the Trump administration is imposing illegal “gag orders” on the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal departments by making it harder for them to communicate with Congress.

“It has been widely reported that the Trump administration has issued restrictions at multiple agencies on employee communications including, in some cases, communications with Congress,” said a letter from the Maryland Democrat, who is the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Frank Pallone of Jersey, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to White House counsel Donald McGahn. “These directives appear to violate a host of federal laws.”

They want McGahn to investigate their concerns and report back to them.

Cummings and Pallone said the Trump administration memo that went to EPA, the Agriculture Department and other agencies appears to violate the whistleblower protection law and others meant to secure the rights of federal employees to communicate freely.

“This memo appears to violate all of these laws, and it creates the impression that the Trump administration intends to muzzle whistleblowers,” the letter read.

Under the 2012 whistleblower protection law, the executive branch cannot issue orders barring communication with Congress.

In addition, a second group of five Democrats from the House Appropriations Committee sent a letter to President Trump Thursday, raising concerns over an order issued by the White House in the last week that restricted the EPA’s actions on issuing grants.

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