US House panel launches Trump probe

US House panel launches Trump probe

The head of the US House Judiciary Committee say the panel would seek documents from more than 60 people and entities as part of a probe into possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by US President Donald Trump.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told This Week in the US that the panel wanted to get documents from the Department of Justice, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr and Trump Organisation chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, among others.

“We are going to initiate investigations into abuses of power, into corruption … and into obstruction of justice,” Mr Nadler said.

“It’s our job to protect the rule of law. It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice,” Mr Nadler said.

Mr Trump took to Twitter to defend himself, saying, “I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal & should never have been allowed to start — And only because I won the Election! Despite this, great success!”

Mr Nadler said it was too soon to consider whether impeachment should be pursued, however.

“Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen,” he said.

As evidence of obstruction, Mr Nadler cited Mr Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, who at the time was leading an investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion between Mr Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

That investigation was subsequently taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is expected to deliver his findings to the US Attorney-General within weeks.

Mr Nadler also cited what he called Mr Trump’s attempts to intimidate witnesses in the investigation.

The White House, the Justice Department and the Trump Organisation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr Nadler said the committee on Monday would release the list of people and organisations it would be requesting documents from.

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