The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Sunday that he plans to request documents from more than 60 people and organizations connected to President Donald Trump as part of an inquiry that could eventually lead to Trump’s impeachment.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, said on ABC News’ “This Week” that the targets include the president’s son Donald Trump Jr.; Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization; and the Justice Department.
The materials, the congressman said, would be used “to begin investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.”
“Impeachment is a long way down the road. We don’t have the facts yet. But we’re going to initiate proper investigations,” he said.
Nadler’s announcement came just days after another House committee publicly questioned the president’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who implicated Trump in several serious crimes, including potential campaign finance violations connected to hush-money payoffs to women and possible fraud charges concerning falsified documents provided to banks and insurance companies.
Nadler said he has made no determination about whether to proceed with impeachment, but he said he has grown increasingly convinced that Trump has obstructed justice — an offense that was included in the impeachment articles passed in the House against both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
“We have to do the investigations and get all this,” Nadler told “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos. “We do not now have the evidence all sorted out and everything to do an impeachment. Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen … We may or may not get there. But what we have to do is protect the rule of law.”
A person who was familiar with the pending document requests but was not authorized to comment publicly on the matter said requests surrounding potential obstruction of justice would focus on Trump’s alleged efforts to remove perceived enemies at the Justice Department, including former FBI Director James Comey, and install more loyal replacements. The requests would also look at potential abuses of power, the person said, including the possible dangling of pardons and witness tampering, as well as Trump’s broader attacks on the entities investigating him and the press.
A spokesman for the Judiciary Committee declined to comment.
Nadler’s announcement comes as the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller III appears to be nearing an end. Nadler said that probe, focused on ties between Russia and Trump’s business and campaign, would represent the beginning, not the end, of his committee’s probe.
“This investigation goes far beyond collusion. We’ve seen all the democratic norms that we depend on for democratic government attacked by the administration,” Nadler said Sunday, pointing to Trump’s attacks on the press, intelligence agencies and federal law enforcement. “All of these are very corrosive to liberty and to the proper functioning of government and to our constitutional system. All this has to be looked at and the facts laid out to the American people.”
Responding to Nadler on “This Week,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said the House Democrats’ investigations represented an effort to leave a cloud over Trump even after Mueller’s findings are released.
“There’s no collusion, so they want to build something else,” McCarthy said, adding that Nadler “decided to impeach the president the day the president won the election.”