WASHINGTON – The Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee opened a sweeping investigation Monday into President Donald Trump and his associates, requesting documents from 81 “agencies, entities, and individuals” connected to the administration and Trump’s private businesses.
“Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement announcing the investigation “into the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration.”
Those issued document requests included names connected to the Trump Organization, the Trump campaign and the White House.
Among the names were both of Trump’s adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump; Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; the Trump trust; Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer; former national security adviser Michael Flynn; longtime Trump associate Roger Stone; former White House adviser Steve Bannon; WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; former White House press secretary Sean Spicer; former White House communications director Hope Hicks; the National Rifle Association and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Since securing a strong majority in the House after the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats have vowed to begin a series of investigations into a wide range of topics involving Trump and his associates. Democrats have accused congressional Republicans of working to protect the president instead of serving as a check on his power.
“We have seen the damage done to our democratic institutions in the two years that the Congress refused to conduct responsible oversight,” Nadler said Monday.
The House Intelligence Committee has already announced a separate probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump’s foreign financial interests.
On Sunday, that committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told ABC’s “This Week” that he plans to investigate “allegations that the Russians have been laundering money through the Trump Organization.”
Also on Sunday, Trump tweeted, “After more than two years of Presidential Harassment, the only things that have been proven is that Democrats and other broke the law.” He did not elaborate on what crimes he believes Democrats had committed.
“I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal & should never have been allowed to start – And only because I won the Election! Despite this, great success!” the president tweeted.
He also criticized “ridiculous partisan investigations” during his recent State of the Union address.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee has launched multiple investigations and several other committees are probing related matters as well.
Schiff and Nadler have both publicly expressed their belief that Trump is guilty of several crimes, but both have also said they are waiting to see the conclusions from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before calling for the president’s impeachment.
“It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice,” Nadler said Sunday on “This Week.” But he cautioned that “impeachment is a long way down the road.”
“We don’t have the facts yet, but we’re going to initiate proper investigations,” he said. “Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.”
On Monday, Nadler said that the committee must “protect and respect” Mueller’s work, but added that “we cannot rely on others to do the investigative work for us.”
“We have sent these document requests in order to begin building the public record,” Nadler said, adding that Mueller and federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York “are aware that we are taking these steps.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday that Nadler is starting fresh investigations because he does not believe Mueller will conclude there was collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign.
“Congressman Nadler decided to impeach the president the day the president won the election,” McCarthy said Sunday on “This Week.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/03/04/house-judiciary-committee-requests-documents/3056578002/