House panel launches sweeping probe of Trump

US House panel launches probe into possible obstruction by Donald Trump

The House Judiciary Committee has launched a sweeping probe into President Donald Trump to discern if his Administration and associates obstructed justice and engaged in public corruption or any other abuse of power.

Other demands for documents are directed to institutions including the White House, the Justice Department, the Trump campaign, the Trump transition team and the Trump Organisation. "Congress must provide a check on abuses of power", House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in a statement.

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".

Nadler also cited what he called Trump's attempts to intimidate witnesses in the investigation. "It's all a hoax".

"Tomorrow [Monday], we will be issuing document requests to over 60 different people and individuals from the White House to the Department of Justice", he said. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Sunday.

The latest letter followed news that Trump had personally instructed his then-Chief of Staff John Kelly to give Kushner a security clearance.

"We don't have the facts yet", Nadler said.

The investigation was subsequently taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is expected to end his investigation and report his findings in coming weeks.

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And to be clear, Democratic leadership has yet to produce a unified message as to whether impeachment is a smart political strategy.

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".

House Democrats opened a huge new avenue Monday in their investigations into Trump, with the chairman of the Judiciary Committee firing off document requests to dozens of figures from the president's administration, family and business.

Weisselberg was granted immunity in August by federal prosecutors for providing information on former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's role in hush money payments to women alleging affairs with Trump.

FILE - Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., speaks after hearing some of the testimony from Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, before a closed door hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Feb. 26, 2019, in Washington.

But the Democratic congressman said "we do not have the evidence" to start an impeachment procedure against the president. Now, Cohen says Trump's Russian business involvement extended for months after that.

Mr Trump has faced a tough week politically with the spotlight back on the Russian Federation investigation. The panel will also look into corruption claims.

The documents Nadler requested are a first step in the committee's effort to explore possible obstruction of justice by the President in connection with Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and whether Trump or anyone close to him coordinated with the Russians during the campaign.

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