A House of Representatives panel led by Democrats sent document requests to 81 individuals and organizations associated with Donald Trump on Monday, in the most aggressive play yet by the newly installed Congress to investigate alleged wrongdoing by the president.
Recipients of requests from the House judiciary committee included the president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump; son-in-law Jared Kushner; Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization; former attorney general Jeff Sessions; former communications director Hope Hicks; the Trump inaugural committee; and former White House lawyer Don McGahn.
Also in receipt of requests were Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct firm at the heart of the Facebook data harvesting scandal and Alexander Nix, who was its chief executive. Rob Goldstone, the British PR executive who set up an infamous meeting between Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016, was also listed as a recipient. Requests were sent to Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, and the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains within the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Recipients were given two weeks to respond, failing which they could be hit by legally binding subpoenas.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,” the House judiciary committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said. “We will act quickly to gather this information, assess the evidence, and follow the facts where they lead with full transparency with the American people.”
While Nadler said “impeachment is a long way down the road”, the main allegations under investigation – public corruption, obstruction of justice and abuse of power – could be the foundation for an impeachment case against Trump.
“We do not now have the evidence all sorted out and everything to do an impeachment,” Nadler said in an interview on Sunday on ABC. “Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.”
Asked on Monday by reporters to respond to the Democrats’ play, Trump suggested he had nothing to hide.