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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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The world of investigations into Donald Trump, his administration, campaign, and business efforts just got much larger Monday, with the launch of a major new probe by the House Judiciary Committee.
The House judiciary panel intends to look into alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by Trump, his associates, and members of his administration.
As a first step, the committee has served document requests to 81 agencies, entities, and individuals believed to have information relevant to the investigation. Some of those 81 are quite well-known, while others are much more obscure.
The committee’s investigation will cover three main areas:
- Obstruction of justice, including the possibility of interference by the president and others in a number of criminal investigations and other official proceedings, as well as the alleged cover-up of violations of the law;
- Public corruption, including potential violations of the emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution, conspiracy to violate federal campaign and financial reporting laws, and other criminal misuses of official positions for personal gain; and
- Abuses of power, including attacks on the press, the judiciary, and law enforcement agencies; misuse of the pardon power and other presidential authorities; and attempts to misuse the power of the Office of the President.
For two years, in the absence of active oversight by the previous Republican House majority, House Judiciary Committee Democrats wrote more than 100 letters to the White House, the administration, and previous House Republican leadership documenting the failings of the Trump administration and demanding accountability.
“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,” says Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). “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.
“Equally, we must protect and respect the work of Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller, but we cannot rely on others to do the investigative work for us. Our work is even more urgent after senior Justice Department officials have suggested that they may conceal the work of the Special Counsel’s investigation from the public,” Nadler adds.
Mueller and his team are investigating whether there was any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, in an attempt to tilt the 2016 presidential election to Trump.
Trump and his allies have long complained about the Mueller probe, with Trump repeatedly tweeting that it is a “witch hunt.”
Mueller, however, is a lifelong Republican and a well-regarded investigator who was appointed FBI director under President George W Bush.