House Judiciary Jump Starts Trump Probes With Wide-Ranging Doc Requests

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., accompanied by fellow House Democrats, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 16, 2016, to discuss opposition to the President Barack Obama's trad... Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., accompanied by fellow House Democrats, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 16, 2016, to discuss opposition to the President Barack Obama's trade deal. Despite Obama's direct appeal, House Democrats voted overwhelmingly on Friday to reject a jobs retraining program because it was legislatively linked to fast track, which they want to kill. Both parties were asking Tuesday whether they could persuade enough colleagues to switch their votes and reverse Friday's outcome, but few were optimistic. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke) MORE LESS
March 4, 2019 11:50 a.m.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced Monday that his committee has sent out a sprawling set of document requests to 81 different Trump-tied individuals, corporations and government entities.

The request signaled an escalation of House Democrats’ investigations into Trump and his allies, and their burgeoning focus on corruption, obstruction of justice and abuse of power that goes beyond just the Russia probe.

Some of the requests signal the committee’s interest in delving deeper into the Russia investigation, and cover several revelations that have emerged from Mueller’s probe.

But the committee is also interested in a slew of other scandals that have bubbled up during and since the presidential campaign, including allegations of foreign contributions to Trump Inaugural Committee, Emoluments Clause issues and hush-money payments to women alleged to have had affairs with Trump.

Among the obstruction issues that the committee appears focused on are any deliberations about pardoning Trump allies, the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, the pressure campaigns on former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Justice Department officials, and the appointment of Sessions’ replacement, acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

“We will act quickly to gather this information, assess the evidence, and follow the facts where they lead with full transparency with the American people,” Nadler said in a statement. “This is a critical time for our nation, and we have a responsibility to investigate these matters and hold hearings for the public to have all the facts. That is exactly what we intend to do.”

Nadler said that both Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office and prosecutors in Southern District of New York are aware of the committee’s actions. Mueller has been investigating Trump’s Russia ties, while the Manhattan prosecutors have probed Trump hush money payments and are reportedly investigating other Trump-related matters.

“We have sent these document requests in order to begin building the public record,” Nadler said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that the White House had received one of the requests.

“The counsel’s Office and relevant White House officials will review it and respond at the appropriate time,” she said, according to the New York Times.

The recipients range from individuals involved in Trump’s 2016 campaign to people who formerly worked in his administration. Document requests also went out to the FBI and the General Services Administration. The Kushner Companies, run by the family of Trump’s son-in-law and top advisor Jared Kushner, received a request as well.

The committee’s investigation will proceed on three main fronts, according to a committee statement:

  • Obstruction of Justice, including the possibility of interference by the President and others in a number of criminal investigations and other official proceedings, as well as the alleged cover-up of violations of the law;
  • Public Corruption, including potential violations of the emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution, conspiracy to violate federal campaign and financial reporting laws, and other criminal misuses of official positions for personal gain; and
  • Abuses of Power, including attacks on the press, the judiciary, and law enforcement agencies; misuse of the pardon power and other presidential authorities; and attempts to misuse the power of the Office of the Presidency.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are already bashing the move.

“We don’t even know what the Mueller report says, but Democrats are already hedging their bets,” Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the top GOP member of the committee, said in a statement. “After recklessly prejudging the president for obstruction, Chairman Nadler is pursuing evidence to back up his conclusion because, as he admits, ‘we don’t have the facts yet.’”

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