Published: Tue, March 05, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

House Democrats Demand Trump Hand Over Communications with Putin

House Democrats Demand Trump Hand Over Communications with Putin

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee - which has jurisdiction over impeachments - said Sunday that he believes President Donald Trump obstructed justice and his panel will issue document requests on Monday to dozens of people tied to Trump, including members of his family, business empire, and administration.

A committee of the US House of Representatives is seeking documents alleging obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by President Donald Trump and his aides.

The scope of the House Judiciary Committee's investigation into the president will include allegations of obstruction of justice, corruption and abuses of power.

Nadler said impeachment proceedings are a "long way down the road", and the Judiciary Committee is going to first "initiate proper investigations".

Democrats say Cohen's testimony before the House Oversight Committee last week directly implicated Trump in various crimes including campaign finance violations.

The three chairmen on Monday cited reports that Trump "seized notes pertaining to at least one meeting he held with President Putin" and directed an interpreter to not discuss with other United States officials the substance of the communications. "It's all a hoax".

A counsel for the House Judiciary Committee said in a phone call with reporters on Monday that document requests have been sent to 81 people and organisations.

Nadler went on to explain, "Eleven-hundred times [Trump] referred to the Mueller investigation as a witch hunt". Former White House chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn also are likely targets, he said.

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"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 to Attorney General William Barr in coming weeks. But Nadler said talk of trying to remove Trump from office is premature. Because of this lack of response, the chairmen wrote, "we are now expanding our investigation".

McCarthy also lashed out at House Democrats for bringing former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to testify on the same day Trump was in Vietnam to meet North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.

"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", Nadler said.

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.

At the same time, the House Ways and Means Committee has created a framework for requesting Trump's tax returns.

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

There are also people connected to Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, including participants in a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer before the election.

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