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House Judiciary Committee Launches Broad Probe Into Allegations of Obstruction of Justice Against Trump


House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced Monday that the committee is launching a wide-ranging investigation into allegations of obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by President Donald Trump, as well as looking into Trump’s businesses, campaign, transition team and administration.

The House Judiciary Committee sent document requests to 81 individuals and entities Monday, including the White House, the Justice Department, senior campaign officials, Trump Organization officials and the president’s sons, CNN reports.

The requests appear to cover all major events under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, federal prosecutors and congressional investigators, with some of the requests even asking for copies of documents produced for other investigations, meaning the committee is likely to retread ground that federal prosecutors have already pursued.

Tackling questions on obstruction of justice, hush money payments and collusion with Russia, the committee is seeking documents and communications related to issues including former FBI Director James Comey’s firing, possible pardons offered by Trump, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s hush money payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump prior to the 2016 presidential election, Trump campaign officials’ contact with Russians and WikiLeaks, the Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton and communications between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, ABC News reports.

Committee Democrats’ requests also focus on Trump’s finances, including potential conflict-of-interest between Trump’s business interests and the administration, given the concerns about possible violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

Democrats have requested all relevant information to their investigation by March 18, as Democrats on the committee hope to hold closed-door interviews and public hearings with some of the individuals from this first round of letters within weeks, according to committee counsel, CNN reports.

The evidence gathered in the probe, which is being guided by two attorneys brought on by Democrats to oversee the investigation, would likely be the basis of a possible impeachment hearing, should Democrats decide to launch impeachment efforts against Trump. But official impeachment proceedings are still “a long way down the road,” according to Nadler.

“We don’t have the facts yet. But we’re going to initiate proper investigations,” Nadler said Sunday during an interview on ABC’s This Week, adding “there can be crimes that are impeachable offenses and impeachable offenses that are not crimes.”

Nadler also said he believed Trump had obstructed justice based on the Cohen’s testimony before two congressional committees last week.

“It's very clear — 1,100 times he referred to the Mueller investigation as a witch hunt, he tried to — he fired — he tried to protect (former national security adviser Michael) Flynn from being investigated by the FBI,” Nadler said. “He fired (former FBI Director James) Comey in order to stop the Russian thing, as he told NBC News. ... He's intimidated witnesses, in public.”

During an event with the North Dakota State Bison football team on Monday, Trump was asked if he would cooperate with Nadler’s requests.

“I cooperate all the time with everybody,” Trump said. “And you know the beautiful thing: no collusion. It is all a hoax. You’re going to learn about that as you get older. It’s a political hoax, there’s no collusion.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement on the investigation Monday evening, however, describing it as “disgraceful and abusive.”

“Today, Chairman Nadler opened up a disgraceful and abusive investigation into tired, false allegations already investigated by the Special Counsel and committees in both Chambers of Congress,” Sanders said in the statement. “Chairman Nadler and his fellow Democrats have embarked on this fishing expedition because they are terrified that their two-year false narrative of ‘Russia collusion’ is crumbling. Their intimidation and abuse of American citizens is shameful.”

“Democrats are harassing the President to distract from their radical agenda of making America a socialist country, killing babies after they're born, and pushing a ‘green new deal’ that would destroy jobs and bankrupt America,” she added. “The American people deserve a Congress that works with the President to address serious issues like immigration, healthcare, and infrastructure. The Democrats are more interested in pathetic political games and catering to a radical, leftist base than on producing results for our citizens. The Democrats are not after the truth, they are after the President.”

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