On Monday, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Judiciary Committee chairman, opened what may be the most perilous front to date for President Donald Trump — an inquiry to gain testimony and documents from 81 sources in a massive effort that may form a basis of a future impeachment proceedings.
Nadler delivered a flurry of document demands to the executive branch and the broader Trump world.
The investigation is targeted toward possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by Trump and his administration.
Since the Democrats won control of the House in the midterms last November, several committees have been scrutinizing members of the president’s cabinet, businesses, campaign, inaugural committee and his ties to foreign powers, including Russia and its attempts to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.
In addition, the groundwork has been laid to obtain Trump’s long-suppressed tax returns.
Nadler was explicit Monday in saying the House is no longer content to await the findings of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and will delve into many of the same issues, but with a different standard of evidence not wedded to a criminal indictment.
The letters from Nadler, dated March 4, went to 81 agencies, individuals and other entities in the president’s orbit..0
This is the most far-reaching request since the Democrats gained control of the House. It underscored lawmakers’ determination to hold Trump and those around him accountable for controversies that have linked bad tidings to the president.
The inquiries touched on everything from the president’s business dealings with Russia to multiple controversies regarding the firing of former FBI director James B. Comey and hush payments made to women.
House Democrats appear to be pondering a question of whether to focus their energy on Trump’s actions as president or probe alleged past misdeeds before he ran for office, too.
Nadler’s inquiries are extremely broad, focusing on abuse of power, public corruption and obstruction of justice since Trump became president. Some of the inquiries also deal with the campaign and the presidential transition.
Letters also went out to dozens of the president’s closest family members and aides who counseled him as he dealt with the Stormy Daniels sex story.
Trump has also launched attacks against federal investigations into him and his associates, the press and the federal judiciary.
The committee will also investigate accusations of corruption, including possible violations of campaign finance law, the Constitution’s ban on foreign emoluments and the use of office for personal gain.
Nadler said it was imperative to “begin building the public record” of what he contended are Trump’s abuses.
“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,” Nadler said.
He did not mention impeachment in any of Monday’s documents, but its specter hangs heavily over Democratic leaders as they wade deeper into the president’s circles.
Speaking to reporters at the White House as he welcomed the North Dakota State University football team, Trump signaled that he would cooperate with the inquiry and repeated that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.