Top Democrat Jerry Nadler demands documents for investigation into Trump
By Kathryn Watson, Rebecca Kaplan
/ CBS News
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler has delivered a slew of document requests as a first step in his investigation into President Trump and his associates, as the White House adjusts to the realities of a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
On Monday, Nadler revealed his committee has requested documents from 81 entities and individuals, from the White House to Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. Nadler is probing allegations of obstruction of justice and public corruption. The document request is the largest issued since Democrats took control of the lower chamber in January, and all the subpoena powers that come with it.
"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 a 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. Congress must provide a check on abuses of power."
Asked if he would cooperate with the document requests, Mr. Trump told reporters Monday, "I cooperate all the time with everybody," but also called the investigation a "total hoax."
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders acknowledged the receipt of the document request, saying in a statement, "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."
Nadler is also demanding records from include Trump reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale, former Trump aide Carter Page, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, former White House communications director Hope Hicks, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and former chief of staff Reince Priebus. He also wants documents from American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, and Cambridge Analytica, a controversial data firm that worked with Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign.
Counsel to the committee said they conveyed the basic contours of the project to the Southern District of New York and special counsel Robert Mueller last week.
Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said Democrats were "hedging their bets" even though the investigation by Mueller has not yet been released.
"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,'" Collins claimed.
The Democrats on the committee, however, view their investigation as much broader than the Mueller inquiry, which is limited to Russian interference ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Nadler's requests come as the White House has so far been unresponsive to requests from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on issues pertaining to Kushner's security clearance, and as the House Ways and Means Committee prepares to demand the president's tax returns.