House panel launches sweeping probe of Donald Trump

House panel launches sweeping probe of Donald Trump

A congressional panel has launched a sweeping new probe of President Donald Trump, his White House, his campaign and his businesses.

The panel is sending document requests to 81 people linked to the president and his associates.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says the investigation will be focused on obstruction of justice, corruption and abuses of power.

The aggressive, broad investigation could set the stage for impeachment, although Democratic leaders have pledged to investigate all avenues and review special counsel Robert Mueller’s report before taking drastic action.

Nadler said today’s document requests are a way to “begin building the public record” and the committee has the responsibility to investigate.

The White House said it has received the House Judiciary Committee’s letter requesting documents related to the Trump administration, family and business as part of an expanding Russia investigation.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said today that the White House counsel’s office and relevant officials will review the letter and respond at the appropriate time.

The committee is requesting documents from more than 60 people.

Nadler, who says he believes the president obstructed justice, said the panel wants to review documents from the Justice Department, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. He says former White House chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn also are likely targets.

It also includes his embattled charitable foundation, which he is shutting down after agreeing to a court-supervised process, and officials at the FBI and Justice Department.

The committee expects some people to produce right away, and others may eventually face subpoenas, an official said. It is unclear how many will eventually be called in for interviews.

The announcement of the new investigation follows a bad political week for the president. He emerged empty-handed from a high-profile summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on denuclearisation, and Mr Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, in three days of congressional evidence, publicly characterised the president as a “conman” and “cheat”.

Mr Nadler previewed the announcement on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, saying it was “very clear” that Mr Trump had obstructed justice.

He said House Democrats, now in the majority, are doing “our job to protect the rule of law” after Republicans during the first two years of Mr Trump’s term were “shielding the president from any proper accountability”.

“We’re far from making decisions” about impeachment, he added.

The top House Democrat said it’s “very clear” President Donald Trump obstructed justice.

Nadler, who is the chairman of the House committee that would be in charge of impeachment, said the panel is requesting documents today from more than 60 people from Trump’s administration, family and business as part of a rapidly expanding Russia investigation.

Asked if he believed Trump obstructed justice, Nadler said, “Yes, I do.”

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