Politics

House Democrats launch sweeping corruption probe into Trump and the White House

Key Points
  • The House Judiciary Committee launches a large-scale investigation into President Donald Trump's potential abuses of power.
  • The committee sends requests for documents to 81 individuals and entities, including the president's sons.
  • "The House Judiciary Committee's letter has been received by the White House. The counsel's Office and relevant White House officials will review it and respond at the appropriate time," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
Cheriss May | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday launched a large-scale investigation into alleged abuses of power by President Donald Trump, sending requests for documents to 81 individuals and entities, including the president's sons.

The probe will focus on three main topics: alleged obstruction of justice by Trump and others and the "alleged cover-up of violations of the law"; alleged corruption in areas including violations of the Constitution's emoluments clause "and other criminal misuses of official positions for personal gain"; and alleged abuses of power, such as attacking the press and misusing the presidential pardon power.

"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," House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a press release.

"Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee," said Nadler, whose committee is in charge of passing articles of impeachment in the House.

Nadler had said on ABC News' "This Week" a day earlier that he believes Trump has "very clearly" obstructed justice.

But Nadler said it was still too soon to make a decision about whether to impeach Trump — an action that Republicans say is the real motivation behind the investigations, regardless of whether sufficient evidence of wrongdoing exists.

The committee's ranking Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, told NBC: "We don't even know what the Mueller report says, but Democrats are already hedging their bets. After recklessly prejudging the president for obstruction, Chairman Nadler is pursuing evidence to back up his conclusion because, as he admits, 'we don't have the facts yet.'"

Nadler noted in that interview that Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg were among the dozens of people to be sent requests for documents as part of this investigation.

Eric Trump is also included in the list. Trump's two oldest sons have been overseeing the Trump Organization since their father became president.

Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is on the list, as well. Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump is not.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Monday morning that Nadler had sent the request. "The House Judiciary Committee's letter has been received by the White House. The counsel's Office and relevant White House officials will review it and respond at the appropriate time," Sanders said in a statement.

Nadler says in the committee's press release that special counsel Robert Mueller's team and federal prosecutors in New York have both been told about the congressional panel's sweeping new initiative.

Mueller is probing Russia's interference and possible Trump-campaign collusion during the 2016 presidential election. Federal prosecutors of the Southern District of New York are investigating campaign-finance issues, as well as Trump's inaugural committee.

Trump, asked about Nadler's probe at the White House, said, "I cooperate all the time with everybody."

The president was hosting the North Dakota State football team in the White House state dining room in celebration of their record seventh FCS championship. The team was treated to a spread of fast-food menu items from Chick-fil-a and McDonald's.

"You know the beautiful thing – no collusion. It's all a hoax," Trump added.

"You're going to learn about that as you grow older. It's a political hoax. There's no collusion," Trump said. "Folks, go and eat up."