A judiciary panel investigating United States President Donald Trump for the possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power will seek documents from more than 60 people and organisations in connection with the probe, Reuters quoted the panel’s chairman as saying on Sunday. The investigation is part of the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections.
The House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler said the panel has sought documents from the Department of Justice, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, among others, ABC News reported. The document requests will be made on Monday, he said.
“We will begin the investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power,” said Nadler. “It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice.”
However, Nadler said it was too soon to consider whether impeachment should be pursued. “Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen,” he said.
Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen last week claimed that as a Republican presidential candidate in 2016, Trump knew beforehand that Wikileaks would release hacked Democratic National Committee emails. In a congressional testimony before the US House of Representatives committee, Cohen accused Trump of being “a racist”, “a conman” and “a cheat”.
Cohen’s testimony was part of an investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller who is looking into ties between Trump’s campaign officials and Russia. It is also looking into other ways Russia may have influenced the 2016 presidential polls. The investigation was earlier led by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, who Trump fired in May 2017. Nadler cited the firing as evidence of obstruction.
Nadler said Cohen’s testimony had directly implicated Trump in various crimes. Investigators will also probe whether Trump used the White House for personal enrichment, he said. “This investigation goes far beyond collusion,” he added.
Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with Russia. “I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted and corrupt people in a witchhunt that is illegal and should never have been allowed to start,” he tweeted on Sunday.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy accused Nadler of having an impeachment agenda. “They are setting a whole new course because there’s no collusion, so they want to build something else,” he said.