Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Democrats' goal in Trump probe: proving obstruction, collusion

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Leonard Rios | 06 March, 2019, 06:42

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House committee that would be in charge of impeachment says the panel is requesting documents Monday from more than 60 people from Trump's administration, family and business as part of a rapidly expanding Russian Federation investigation.

The Democrats wresting back power in the House in November's elections placed Nadler in a position of substantial power leading the Judiciary Committee.

The hard-charging U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan, otherwise known as the Southern District of NY, is behind the prosecution of Cohen, perhaps the most damaging case so far for Trump.

Should Trump face impeachment proceedings in the House, Nadler would oversee those.

The White House said its lawyers and "relevant White House officials" would review the Judiciary Committee's demand for documents and "respond at the appropriate time".

Democrats want documents relating to the patronage of Trump businesses, like the Trump International Hotel in Washington, by USA and foreign officials and dignitaries seeking to curry favor with the president.

"It's too bad, because I'd rather see them do legislation", Trump told reporters at an afternoon White House event, during which he ticked off a few issues on which he said he and Democrats could work together.

And the latest fusillade of requests for information has the Trump White House, already increasingly focused on the twin challenges of dealing with the probes and the 2020 election, in a reactive position.

Meanwhile, Amazon is taking pre-orders of the elusive "Mueller report"-one publisher promises to provide it complete with commentary by Trump advocate and law professor Alan Dershowitz".

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Donald Trump went "off script" at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference held in National Harbor, Maryland. Asked if he believed Trump obstructed justice, Nadler said , "Yes, I do".

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The Democrats' requests - which the president has referred to as "McCarthyism", quoting Fox News host Sean Hannity - come as William Barr takes over as Attorney General.

In addition, the committee is asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department for documents on possible pardons for Michael Cohen, the president's former personal lawyer.

Son-in-law Jared Kushner and the Trump Organization's long-time chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, were among the 81 people and organizations, such as the National Rifle Association, that received letters from the panel's Democratic chairman Jerry Nadler. "I hope we get something done besides investigations aimed at impacting the next election", he told CNN's Jake Tapper.

The document requests Monday targeted such high-profile people in Trump's orbit as convicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the recently indicted political consultant Roger Stone.

A committee aide said Monday's list was only a first phase of document requests and more letters would be going out soon.

Cummings opened the investigation into White House security clearances shortly after taking over as chairman of the committee. "It's a political hoax".

Defending his panel's sweeping request, Nadler said House Democrats have "a responsibility to investigate these matters and hold hearings for the public to have all the facts".

"Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms", he added.

At the public Cohen hearing last week, Oversight Committee ranking member Jim Jordan of OH invoked Steyer in his opening remarks to portray Democrats' investigations into the president's affairs as motivated by pressure from left-wing progressives.

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