The House Judiciary Committee launched a wide-ranging investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign, presidency, and private business practices on Monday by requesting documents from 81 different companies, federal agencies, U.S. and foreign individuals, Republican organizations, and people within Trump’s inner circle, including several members of his family.
In a statement on Monday, the Judiciary Committee’s Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D- NY) said it is the Judiciary Committee’s responsibility to look into Trump’s “near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms” — a role ignored by the Republican-led Congress over the past two years.
The probe requests documents related to to a range of alleged crimes and corruptions by the president and people close to him, including longstanding allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 election; lying to Congress and investigators about the timing of the Trump Tower Moscow project; alleged foreign and domestic emoluments related to the Trump Organization’s business practices; alleged misuse of funds by the Trump inaugural committee; and more.
The investigation appears to also target whether Trump tried to obstruct justice by squashing the existing investigations into Russian election meddling and his business practices, which include an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, by at least seven congressional committees, and by the Southern District of New York. The probe request material related to any firing discussions held about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and special counsel Robert Mueller.
The requests seek records and communications from the president’s former attorneys including Michael Cohen and Don McGahn and several of his family members, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., and his businesses and non-profits, including the Trump Organization and the Trump Foundation.
Democrats hope to avoid fights over executive privilege. In lieu of providing the specific documents requests, the letters allow people to fulfill the requests by providing documents that have already handed over to federal investigators. But the committee is also preparing for the possibility of issuing subpoenas in the coming weeks, a committee counsel said Monday.
The committee also seeks documents from a number of federal agencies including the General Services Administration, the Department of Justice, and the FBI, as well as leaders of various agencies since the president has been in office. The requests include others who have already been indicted, charged, or sentenced related to the Mueller investigation, included former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The committee is also asking for documents from a number of Russian nationals and from WikiLeaks.
Nadler added that SDNY and Mueller have been informed of the committee’s request. But, he said, the committee “cannot rely on others to do the investigative work for us.”
“We have sent these document requests in order to begin building the public record,” Nadler said. “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. 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.”
Several obvious names were missing from the Judiciary Committee’s list, including former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and a host of current and former Justice Department and FBI officials, like former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who have been at the center of questions about whether Trump has tried to obstruct the Russia probe. Some of their communications were included in other requests, including one to the Justice Department. Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, appears in requested documents related to foreign and domestic emoluments, but is not listed as a target of a document request.