Two months into the Democrats’ takeover of the House of Representatives, the long-awaited investigation into the business and political careers of President Donald Trump and those in his immediate orbit is here.
On Monday, House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler of New York announced a wide-ranging investigation into essentially all things Trump, complete with letters sent to over 80 high-profile people and organizations seeking information and documents. While Republicans separately investigated possible collusion between the campaign and the Russian government in 2017 and 2018 when they controlled the House, the Nadler-led Judiciary probe stretches into every stage of Trump’s political career as well as the Trump Organization and the Trump Foundation, his (supposed) charity.
In a statement, Nadler said that the letters were a “first step” in order to “begin building the public record.”
“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 in the statement. “Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee. We have seen the damage done to our democratic institutions in the two years that the Congress refused to conduct responsible oversight.”
Those receiving letters include Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, as well as son-in-law and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner. Also appearing on the list are former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, the National Enquirer-owning American Media Inc., former White House counsel Don McGahn, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former White House aide, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Wikileaks itself, the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, the White House itself, the Trump inaugural committee, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform last week for a tumultuous hearing.
The Judiciary Committee is reportedly demanding responses within two weeks from those it sent the letters to. While Nadler has long been reluctant to call for Trump’s impeachment, the investigation looks to examine essentially everything that could justify impeachment, and ultimately could very well provide the backbone on which an impeachment effort is set.
Among the questions that the sprawling probe could take on include accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia; the Trump Organization’s sketchy business dealings, allegations of obstruction of justice; and hush-money payments to women with whom Trump allegedly had affairs, including porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal.
During last week’s House hearing, Cohen alleged that Trump had directed him to make those hush-money payments, and also alleged that Trump had falsely inflated his assets to an insurance company.
In the statement, Nadler said that the offices of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York were “aware” that his committee is launching the investigation. The New York Times reported last month that the Mueller report could be delivered to the Justice Department “within weeks,” although his office declined to comment on a timetable for the report to be delivered.