Congress doesn't need to investigate the federal government's response to Hurricane Maria just because we need to learn how to prevent something like it from happening again and how to prepare for the future; we need to know what the Trump regime knew and when they knew it.
Congressional Democrats calling for an investigation released a very disturbing email yesterday that appears to show that the Trump regime, or at least first responders on the ground and the Army National Guard, knew there could be many more storm victims than the official death toll indicated.
One email released by ranking Democrats shows first responders asking for counseling after stumbling on multiple "mass graves." Another document shows the National Guard warning that "government failure" could lead to more deaths.
In one email, dated Sept. 29, 2017, a first responder — whose name has been redacted — describes “finding mass graves in mud slide areas,” and requests counseling support for federal first responders in the area. An unnamed Army National Guard general is included in the correspondence. [...]
Cummings also released an unclassified National Guard intelligence assessment, produced five days after Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory, that warns that the “potential for government failure and resulting humanitarian crisis on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is high.”
This one email does not conclusively prove that the White House knew about the high number of deaths from the beginning, but I think you'd be crazy to not start asking questions.
A million questions come to my mind. For example, if the low initial death toll was attributed to strict reporting standards that the local government couldn't meet, were the standards strictly enforced to cover up the true number of deaths? Did Trump regime officials use those standards to dodge culpability and responsibility? To what extent were officials pressured by the White House to make it as difficult as possible to produce an accurate account of storm-related deaths?
Recent reports, such as a report from this week that showed the federal government has denied 97 percent of requests for funeral assistance, tell us thousands of families have been denied support because of standards that masked the truth cost of the storm and the government's failed response.
I have to ask how many of those victims were actually discovered by federal first responders who did not record their deaths in a proper manner. I recall the recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that said a majority of personnel the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed to Puerto Rico were listed as "unqualified" by the agency's own standards. Many of them had little to no training. That may explain why they needed counseling after making the grizzly discovery of "mass graves in mud slide areas."
I have nothing but very dark but legitimate questions about this.
The twisted nature of the Trump regime and Trump himself makes all of this plausible. To this day, Trump won't even acknowledge that nearly 3,000 people died during and after the storm. He says it's a conspiracy because, for him, all that matters his is own personal ego and vanity. All that matters to him is how he looks. Why wouldn't you question what the White House knew and when they knew it?