US House to begin Trump abuse inquiry

US House to begin Trump abuse inquiry

The House Judiciary Committee is sending document requests to 81 people linked to the president and his associates.

"According to media reports, President Trump, on multiple occasions, appears to have taken steps to hide the details of his communications with President Putin from other administration officials, Congress, and the American people", chairmen Adam Schiff, Elliot Engel and Elijah Cummings wrote.

House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler is expected to request documents from over 60 people and organizations tied to President Trump and his businesses today, as his committee investigates potential obstruction of justice and other crimes by the president and his allies. According to two checks submitted to Congress, Trump Jr. and Weisselberg helped reimburse Cohen for payments he made to an adult film star to maintain her silence before the 2016 election about an alleged affair with Trump. Nadler has asked the White House for "contents of meetings between President Trump and Vladimir Putin on July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018 and November 30, 2018".

In their letters, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) made note of media reports that Trump has sought to hide the details of his communications with Putin.

"We are going to initiate investigations into abuses of power, into corruption and into obstruction of justice", Mr Nadler said.

Aides said the panel is exploring two other broad issues: public corruption and abuse of power. The panel also is looking at whether Trump has used the White House for personal enrichment in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause. In his testimony, Mr Cohen acknowledged he did not witness or know directly of collusion between Trump aides and Russian Federation but had his "suspicions". "It's a political hoax". The panel is prepared to use its subpoena power if needed, the lawyer said.

Nadler previewed the announcement on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, contending it's "very clear" that Trump obstructed justice.

The letter follows another from last month, in which the three chairmen cited a report that Trump had seized his translator's notes after a meeting with Putin and taken other steps to restrict information about his meetings with Russia's president.

That investigation was subsequently taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is expected to deliver his findings to the USA attorney general within weeks.

Were Democrats to move forward to impeachment, they may well find enough support in the House of Representatives to send the case to the Senate.

Republicans in Congress accuse Democrats of pursuing an impeachment agenda against Trump as part of a political strategy to reclaim the White House in the 2020 election.

"The investigation is a goal unto itself, for it reveals to voters the nature of this presidency and allows them to hold him accountable at the ballot box", explained Rubin.

Several committees are probing related matters as well, and while many might overlap, the committee chairmen and chairwomen say they are working together on the investigations. He tried to protect [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn from being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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