The Associated Press (AP) is reporting this morning that Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are beginning several new investigations into Donald Trump as they prepare for “a post-Robert Mueller world.”
No matter what happens with Mueller’s final Russia report, a half-dozen House committee chairmen are planning to “flood the administration with document requests, calls for testimony and subpoenas.”
The Democrats’ planned investigations will go way beyond the scope of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference and collusion in the 2016 Trump campaign.
Because Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, appeared before two House committees last week with explosive testimony about alleged Trump crimes, they now have much more information, and new avenues to investigate.
The increased oversight by House committees will likely uncover new information about possible Trump “high crimes” that could lead to impeachment proceedings.
In the absence of that, at the very least, the hearings will provide the American public a chance to see for the first time the extent of Trump malfeasance before and during his time in office.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders have been cautious about impeachment, saying they first want to investigate for themselves, and also receive Mueller’s report and evidence files.
Here are some of the committee investigations that are currently or will soon be underway in the House:
House Intelligence Committee
Under new chairman Adam Schiff, the committee is reopening its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The Republicans in charge closed the probe last year, saying there was nothing further to investigate.
Last month Schiff announced that he is starting a new investigation into not only Russian interference but also into Trump’s foreign financial interests.
The intelligence committee interviewed Michael Cohen Thursday. Afterwards, Schiff announced that the committee will hold an open hearing later this month with Felix Sater, a Russia-born Trump business associate who is a former felon and reputed mobster. Sater worked with Cohen on the deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen is returning to finish his interview on Wednesday.
House Oversight and Reform Committee
Chairman Elijah Cummings said after Cohen testified on Wednesday that he will call in several people mentioned in Cohen’s testimony. They will include Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and two of Trump’s children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.
Last Friday Cummings told the White House to give his committee documents related to Jared Kushner’s security clearances by Monday. The New York Times has reported that Trump ordered security officials to give Kushner a clearance over the objections of intelligence agencies.
Last Tuesday, Cummings’ committee voted to subpoena Trump administration officials over family separations at the southern border under the “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
House Judiciary Committee
New Chairman Jerrold Nadler wants to look at Mueller’s report when it becomes available and then decide if his committee should begin impeachment proceedings.
Nadler said that his committee is determined to “ask critical questions, gather all the information, judiciously assess the evidence, and make sure that the facts are not hidden from the American people.”
House Ways and Means Committee
Chairman Richard Neal is expected to try to obtain Trump’s tax returns, which the law says his committee has a right to see. If he does request the returns, he can look forward to a lengthy court battle with the Treasury Department.
House Financial Services Committee
Chairman Maxine Waters is focusing on Deutsche Bank, the German firm that has loaned Trump hundreds of millions of dollars over the years. She said this past week that the bank is cooperating with requests for documents. Deutsche Bank has been convicted in the past of illegal money laundering activities.
Waters is working closely with Schiff, and both of them have said they want to investigate whether Russians used laundered money for real estate transactions with the Trump Organization.
Waters said she is also interested in looking at Trump’s criminal charitable foundation that is being shut down by the New York Attorney General. She is also investigating White House budget director Mick Mulvaney’s tenure at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has said Mulvaney may be called to testify.
House Foreign Affairs Committee
Chairman Eliot Engel is also working with Schiff and his committee to review Trump’s encounters with and connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is investigating, for example, the private meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki last year.
The two committees have worked with House lawyers to figure out the appropriate way to investigate that meeting. That could include getting information from a translator who attended.
Engel has said that the committee will hold hearings “on the mysteries swirling around Trump’s bizarre relationship with Putin and his cronies, and how those dark dealings affect our national security.”
The committee is also looking at the administration’s policy toward Saudi Arabia and response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The above list of House committee investigations points out the extent of the trouble that Donald Trump is in, no matter what happens with special counsel Mueller‘s investigation and final report.
Any one of the items on the list should be enough to uncover Trump “high crimes” that will logically lead to impeachment proceedings. Although the Democrats are waiting until Mueller‘s work is done, it is very likely that shortly thereafter Trump will be impeached. And if enough crimes are shown to the public, even Republicans in Congress may feel enough heat to compel them to go along and end the disastrous presidency of Donald J. Trump.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.
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