US House panel launches new probe into Trump White House, campaign, businesses

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Republicans see the probe by the judiciary committee is part of a larger effort by House Democrats to use investigative powers to hamstring Trump and his 2020 campaign, a tactic the president calls "presidential harassment".

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Monday announced a sweeping investigation into President Donald Trump's campaign, businesses, transition and administration, a probe that would lay the groundwork for Democrats if they choose to pursue impeachment proceedings against the President.

"Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee", he said. But Nadler said talk of trying to remove Trump from office is premature.

When they took control of the US House of Representatives in January, Democrats promised investigations on multiple fronts involving Trump, saying their Republican counterparts had ignored red flags coming out of the White House.

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of U.S. President Donald Trump, is flanked by his attorneys Lanny Davis (L) and Mike Monico (R) as he testifies before a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 27, 2019.

The committees ask for interviews with "linguists, translators or interpreters" who in any way listened to those conversations.

Now that Democrats hold a majority in the House, the new probe is a sign that Trump's legal and political peril is nowhere near over, even as the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation winds down.

"Yes, I do", Nadler said.

He added: "You know, the lovely thing?" No collusion. It's all a hoax.

In a tweet on Sunday, Trump blasted Mueller's Russian Federation investigation, calling it a partisan probe unfairly aimed at discrediting his win in the 2016 presidential election.

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He also issued a tweet announcing the probe.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told CNN that nobody should draw conclusions just because some people affiliated with Trump's administration and businesses were not included on the initial list.

There are also people connected to Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, including participants in a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer before the election.

They include former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former Trump adviser Roger Stone and Cohen. All three have been charged in special counsel Mueller's investigation.

The probe will try to ascertain, among other things, whether Trump obstructed justice by removing perceived enemies in the Justice Department such as ex-FBI Director James Comey. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday the White House had received the letter and that "the counsel's office and relevant White House officials will review it and respond at the appropriate time".

The letters to Hicks and Spicer ask them to turn over any work diaries, journals or "a description of daily events related to your employment" by Trump. Meanwhile, Mueller, who took over the FBI investigation in 2017, isn't expected to charge Trump with any misconduct in a forthcoming report.

Trump, since returning from his collapsed summit in Hanoi last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has resumed his Twitter attacks on Mueller's investigation and the growing number of inquiries in Congress.

The list of document requests also includes the National Rifle Association and Trump's embattled charitable foundation, which he is shutting down after agreeing to a court-supervised process.

The committee expects some people to produce right away, and others may eventually face subpoenas, an official said.

"We're far from making decisions" regarding impeachment, Nadler said Sunday.

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