White House says Dems on ‘fishing expedition’ with new Trump probe
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White House says Dems on ‘fishing expedition’ with new Trump probe

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in a statement on Monday that the panel had served document requests on 81 government agencies, entities and individuals with ties to the Republican head of state. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hit out at Trump’s Democratic foes for launching the "disgraceful and abusive" initiative, which she said encompassed the same lines of inquiry as other similar federal and congressional probes, particularly Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. "Today, Chairman Nadler opened up a disgraceful and abusive investigation into tired, false allegations already investigated by the special counsel and committees in both chambers of Congress," Sanders said in a statement. "Chairman Nadler and his fellow Democrats have embarked on this fishing expedition because they are terrified that their two-year false narrative of 'Russia collusion' is crumbling." While Trump’s alleged campaign ties to Russia have already undergone rigorous examination by Mueller, the new Democratic initiative tries to expand the scope of the scrutiny. The House panel is probing whether Trump, in his attempts to change the course of the Mueller probe, has obstructed justice by firing perceived enemies at the Justice Department like former FBI Director James Comey, and abused his presidential power by offering pardons. House Democrats have already sent out letters to the Trump’s two eldest sons Donald Jr. and Eric; son-in-law Jared Kushner; former personal secretary Rhona Graff; Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization; former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions; and former top White House aides Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer and Stephen K. Bannon. “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,” Nadler said. “This is a critical time for our nation, and we have a responsibility to investigate these matters and hold hearings for the public to have all the facts. That is exactly what we intend to do.” The news of the new Democratic comes at a time when according to insiders, the Mueller probe is in its final stages and could come out soon. Trump has denied all accusations of ties to Russia and obstruction of justice, repeatedly dismissing the investigations as “political witch-hunt” and “hoax.” He told his supporters during an expletive-laden speech on Saturday that his political opponents were trying to take him out “with bullshit.” There are also reports that New York prosecutors have launched a probe into Trump’s inaugural committee for potential campaign-finance violations. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have also been examining Trump’s decades-long career as a real-estate mogul, among other topics. Laying groundwork for impeachment? The new probe has been regarded by analysts as the most serious by Democrats to impeach Trump, a threat that party leaders had long refused to openly discuss. Nadler, however, seemed to be embracing the idea while cautioning that his panel was still a “long way” from starting impeachment proceedings. “We do not now have the evidence all sorted out to do an impeachment,” he told ABC during an interview on Sunday. “Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American people that it ought to happen.” While some lawmakers have tried to initiate the impeachment process since the early days of the Trump presidency, most congressional Democrats had long stated that they would seriously consider the move after Mueller concludes his probe. However, many lawmakers have found a new sense of urgency in the wake of Attorney General William Barr’s unwillingness to commit to providing Mueller’s report to Congress as well as the recent testimony by Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen that the president had implicitly asked him to lie to lawmakers, according to The Atlantic. Perhaps this is what’s driving the new Democratic effort against Trump. An unnamed source told the Atlantic that House Democrats were determined to sustain the pressure on Trump by sending even more document requests to additional witnesses if necessary. “This is just the first wave,” the source said. “The committee will continue to make news as the weeks go on.”

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