California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra complained in a speech to journalists Wednesday that the Trump administration is failing to release documents that might explain its decisions on immigration and environmental issues.
Addressing the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Becerra said he was outraged that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has not responded properly to Becerra’s Freedom of Information Act request for documents on possible conflicts of interest within the agency.
California has had to sue for the records, Becerra said. Refusing to provide the documents, he said, "is, I believe, an absolute abuse of power and discretion."
California has also gone to court to seek documents that might reveal the basis of Trump's decision to discontinue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has allowed young immigrants known as Dreamers to stay in the country.
"What is this administration trying to hide when it doesn’t want to reveal to us the basis of their decision to try to deny 200,000 DACA Dreamers in California the chance to remain?" Becerra said.
Becerra admiringly described DACA participants who are loudly demanding an extension of their time in this country as “tough." He said they have been emboldened enough to even shout him down. "That's the American way," he said, adding, "I believe the DACA Dreamers are here to stay."
Becerra also predicted that the pro-immigrant, pro-clean-energy policies of California will reach the rest of the country.
"What happens in California ultimately happens in the rest of the nation," he said.
The attorney general also criticized the Republican tax overhaul legislation pending in Congress, saying it will increase federal budget deficits and hurt the middle class while benefiting the wealthy.
"The lion's share of benefits will flow to mega-corporations and those who are wealthy enough to own a lot of stock in those corporations," Becerra said.