House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler on Thursday asked four House panels investigating President Donald Trump to share documents and other information to aid his committee’s investigation into whether to file articles of impeachment against the president.
In a letter to the chairs of four key investigative committees, Nadler (D-N.Y.) asked for “documents and testimony, depositions, and/or interview transcripts” that might be relevant to the Judiciary Committee’s ongoing impeachment probe.
Story Continued Below
The letter — addressed to the leaders of the House Intelligence, Financial Services, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs panels — also references the Judiciary panel’s recent pronouncement in various court filings that it is considering whether articles of impeachment are warranted, a decision that came without a formal vote of the House or the committee itself.
Together, all five committees have launched investigations, interviewed witnesses and subpoenaed documents relating to the president’s conduct, foreign business ties, presidential campaign, hush-money payments and personal finances. The Intelligence Committee also has dozens of transcripts from its 2017-18 investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that may become relevant to the Judiciary Committee probe.
Nadler’s request comes one day after Trump’s attorneys argued that two of the committees — Intelligence and Financial Services — may not invoke the possibility of impeachment in order to gain access to Trump’s personal financial information held by Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Trump’s lawyers called impeachment “a non-legislative power that the Committees do not and cannot invoke here (because, among other reasons, they have no jurisdiction over it under the House Rules).”
The Judiciary Committee’s move request appears to directly answer that claim: All documents gathered by other committees investigating Trump might become relevant to its impeachment probe. That also bolsters House General Counsel Douglas Letter’s effort to link the Intelligence and Financial Services Committees’ demands to the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
“In fact, the House Committee on the Judiciary is investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment against President Trump,” Letter wrote. He issued a similar filing in a separate lawsuit on behalf of the Oversight Committee, which is seeking Trump’s financial records through his accounting firm, Mazars.
The president’s attorneys say those panels have no right to obtain Trump’s financial documents because only the Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over impeachment. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, too, argue that the panel hasn’t formally invoked impeachment since there hasn’t been an official vote of the committee or the House, a precedent that has been adhered to in all prior presidential impeachment probes.
Nadler’s letter references the Judiciary Committee’s intention to work with the Intelligence Committee to review sensitive grand jury information relating to counterintelligence. Nadler said his request to the other committees “would build on that sharing agreement and would similarly allow for sensitive or confidential information to be received.”
In the past, formal impeachment inquiries have transformed the Judiciary Committee into the clearinghouse for all potentially damaging information about the president, but under Nadler’s proposed arrangement, all five committees would continue their parallel investigations and share information only as it becomes pertinent — a prospect that would dramatically broaden efforts to unearth impeachment-related information to dozens of additional members of the House, including powerful lawmakers like Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters. Waters has long called for Trump’s removal from office.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far resisted growing calls among her colleagues to open a formal impeachment inquiry, though she has signed off on the legal strategy that references the House’s ongoing impeachment investigation. As of Thursday, 135 Democrats — well over half of Pelosi’s caucus — have indicated they would vote to open an inquiry, a number that has grown steadily since former special counsel Robert Mueller testified on Capitol Hill last month and confirmed allegations of obstruction of justice against Trump.
Though Pelosi tasked six committees with investigating aspects of Trump’s business and personal activities, Nadler’s letter notably omits the Ways and Means Committee, which is seeking Trump’s federal tax returns and is suing the Treasury Department and IRS to obtain them.