House Democrats Launch Sweeping Investigation Into Potential Crimes by Trump

The probe may be an initial step toward impeachment.

President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 2, 2019.Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

In what could prove a major step toward initiating impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, House Democrats on Monday launched a broad probe into alleged abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and corruption by the president. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler requested documents from 81 individuals and entities, including the Trump Organization, the president’s family members and business associates, current and former White House aides, and many others. The new probe is the latest in a series of new investigative steps by House committees in the wake of testimony last week by Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who accused the president of multiple crimes.

The judiciary committee’s action is significant because the panel has responsibility for any eventual effort to impeach Trump. Nadler, like other senior Democrats, says it’s too early to discuss impeachment. He argues that even though Trump has already been implicated in potentially impeachable offenses, including extensive campaign finance violations detailed by Cohen, Democrats should not attempt to impeach Trump without Republican support, since doing so would be futile and might hurt Democrats politically. Speaking Sunday on ABC’s This Week, Nadler described the committee’s probe as an attempt to “lay out for the American people” the extent of Trump’s malfeasance. He said Congress should not rely on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which is focused on Trump campaign contacts with Russia. “We have to focus much more broadly on abuses of power,” Nadler said.

In a call with reporters Monday, a judiciary committee lawyer said the panel’s investigation into abuses of power by the president will cover Trump’s attacks on the media and federal judges and his public dangling of pardons for potential witnesses against him. Each of these acts “may not rise to the level of a crime under federal law, but it is nevertheless a gross abuse of power,” the attorney said.

The committee wants documents from a broad group. It is seeking material from Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Jared Kushner, the FBI, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and former White House Counsel Don McGahn that may fuel an obstruction of justice case against Trump. The panel also wants documents from longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, who was recently indicted for lying to Congress; conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi; and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The requests blow past Trump’s efforts to restrict investigators from looking into his personal business. The committee seeks documents from Rhonna Graff, Trump’s longtime personal secretary, and other Trump Organization figures. 

The document requests suggest the committee has not yet discovered new information on Trump-connected scandals but that it aims to build its own record on alleged crimes and abuses of power by the president and his advisers. “We have sent these document requests in order to begin building the public record,” Nadler said Monday. The committee lawyer said that in most cases the recipients can satisfy the document requests by sharing records they have already handed over to other investigators, including the special counsel’s office. He said the panel will subpoena documents within weeks if recipients refuse to provide them.

Here is the list of document requests the committee sent:

  1. Alan Garten (letterdocument requests
  2. Alexander Nix (letterdocument requests
  3. Allen Weisselberg (letterdocument requests
  4. American Media Inc. (letterdocument requests)
  5. Anatoli Samochornov (letterdocument requests)
  6. Andrew Intrater (letterdocument requests)
  7. Annie Donaldson (letterdocument requests)
  8. Brad Parscale (letterdocument requests)
  9. Brittany Kaiser (letterdocument requests)
  10. Cambridge Analytica (letterdocument requests
  11. Carter Page (letter, document requests)
  12. Columbus Nova (letterdocument requests)
  13. Concord Management and Consulting (letterdocument requests)
  14. Corey Lewandowski (letterdocument requests)
  15. David Pecker (letterdocument requests)
  16. Department of Justice (letterdocument requests)
  17. Don McGahn (letterdocument requests
  18. Donald J Trump Revocable Trust (letterdocument requests
  19. Donald Trump Jr. (letterdocument requests
  20. Dylan Howard (letterdocument requests)
  21. Eric Trump (letterdocument requests)
  22. Erik Prince (letterdocument requests)
  23. FBI (letter, document requests)
  24. Felix Sater (letterdocument requests)
  25. Flynn Intel Group (letterdocument requests)
  26. General Services Administration (letterdocument requests)
  27. George Nader (letterdocument requests)
  28. George Papadopoulos (letterdocument requests)
  29. Hope Hicks (letterdocument requests)
  30. Irakly Kaveladze (letterdocument requests)
  31. Jared Kushner (letterdocument requests)
  32. Jason Maloni (letterdocument requests)
  33. Jay Sekulow (letterdocument requests)
  34. Jeff Sessions (letterdocument requests)
  35. Jerome Corsi (letterdocument requests)
  36. John Szobocsan (letterdocument requests)
  37. Julian Assange (letterdocument requests)
  38. Julian David Wheatland (letterdocument requests)
  39. Keith Davidson (letterdocument requests)
  40. KT McFarland (letterdocument requests)
  41. Mark Corallo (letterdocument requests)
  42. Matt Tait (letterdocument requests)
  43. Matthew Calamari (letterdocument requests)
  44. Michael Caputo (letterdocument requests)
  45. Michael Cohen (letterdocument requests)
  46. Michael Flynn (letterdocument requests)
  47. Michael Flynn Jr. (letterdocument requests)
  48. Paul Erickson (letterdocument requests)
  49. Paul Manafort (letterdocument requests)
  50. Peter Smith (Estate) (letterdocument requests)
  51. Randy Credico (letterdocument requests)
  52. Reince Priebus (letterdocument requests)
  53. Rhona Graff (letterdocument requests)
  54. Rinat Akhmetshin (letterdocument requests)
  55. Rob Goldstone (letterdocument requests)
  56. Roger Stone (letter, document requests)
  57. Ronald Lieberman (letterdocument requests)
  58. Sam Nunberg (letterdocument requests)
  59. SCL Group Limited (letterdocument requests)
  60. Sean Spicer (letterdocument requests)
  61. Sheri Dillon (letterdocument requests)
  62. Stefan Passantino (letterdocument requests)
  63. Steve Bannon (letterdocument requests)
  64. Ted Malloch (letterdocument requests)
  65. The White House (letterdocument requests)
  66. Trump campaign (letterdocument requests)
  67. Trump Foundation (letterdocument requests)
  68. Trump Organization (letterdocument requests)
  69. Trump transition (letterdocument requests)
  70. Viktor Vekselberg (letterdocument requests)
  71. WikiLeaks (letterdocument requests)
  72. 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee (letterdocument requests
  73. Christopher Bancroft Burnham (letterdocument requests)
  74. Frontier Services Group (letterdocument requests)
  75. J.D. Gordon (letterdocument requests)
  76. Kushner Companies (letter, document requests)
  77. National Rifle Association (letterdocument requests)
  78. Rick Gates (letter, document requests)
  79. Tom Barrack (letterdocument requests)
  80. Tom Bossert (letterdocument requests)
  81. Tony Fabrizio (letterdocument requests)

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