04 March 2019, WASHINGTON
US lawmakers will demand documents from Donald Trump’s eldest son and a lifelong business associate as part of a wide-ranging investigation into alleged abuses of office by the president, a leading Democrat said Sunday.
US House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler told ABC political show “This Week” that Donald Trump Jr. and Allen Weisselberg, the sole trustees of The Trump Organization, were among 60 people and entities being targeted by the probe.
The New York congressman said the requests would go out on Monday “to begin investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power” by the Republican president.
Trump’s campaign is being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for alleged collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 election, and for possible obstruction of that probe.
Many observers believe, however, his biggest legal exposure will come with the various federal and state-level investigations into his finances and the running of his charity foundation and business.
Trump came out fighting, posting on Twitter that two years of “presidential Harassment” since he took office had proven nothing but Democratic lawbreaking.
“I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal & should never have been allowed to start,” he tweeted.
Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen testified on Capitol Hill Wednesday that authorities in New York were probing crimes allegedly involving the president beyond those that have been made public.
Nadler said it was “very clear” that Trump had obstructed justice, by repeatedly calling the Mueller probe a “witch hunt” and by trying to halt an investigation into his first national security advisor Mike Flynn, who subsequently admitted lying to the FBI over Russian contacts.
Trump set off a political firestorm by firing FBI chief James Comey on May 2017 — and then admitting to NBC he had taken the decision after becoming frustrated with the Russia probe.
Nadler, like Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has been reticent about pushing for the president’s impeachment, and told ABC such action would be “a long way down the road.”
Trump was implicated by Cohen in numerous crimes as the president’s former fixer gave evidence to the House Oversight Committee Wednesday, accusing his old boss of being “a racist,” “conman” and “cheat.”
Cohen, who has been convicted of lying to Congress, said Trump knew ahead of time that WikiLeaks would release material damaging to election rival Hillary Clinton, which turned out to be emails stolen by Russian spies.
He added that he believed Trump knew in advance about a June 9, 2016 meeting between campaign chiefs and a Russian lawyer touting dirt on Clinton.
Cohen pleaded guilty last year to violating campaign finance laws when he paid off adult film star Stormy Daniels to stay quiet before the 2016 election about an affair Cohen said she had with Trump.
Cohen said Trump ordered the hush payment. He also alleged that the Trump Organization regularly and illegally inflated the value of its assets to obtain bank loans, and accused his former boss of misusing charity funds.
“What we learned from the Cohen testimony is that he directly implicated the president in — in various crimes, both while seeking the office of president and while in the White House,” Nadler said on “This Week.” “We don’t have the facts yet. But we’re going to initiate proper investigations.”