House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Monday that President Donald Trump has attacked the “core functions” of American democracy and that congressional Democrats will hold him and his administration accountable with a sweeping investigation.
“For two years the Trump administration has been attacking the core functions … of our democracy, and the Congress has refused to do any oversight,” the New York Democrat told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
The chairman announced on Monday a broad probe into the President’s campaign, businesses, transition and administration. The sweeping investigation would lay the groundwork for the newly empowered Democrats if they chose to pursue impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Nadler said that Republicans – who controlled both chambers of Congress until January, when Democrats took the majority in the House following their wins in November’s midterm elections – have “shielded” the President.
He said “our goal is to hold the administration accountable for the obstruction of justice,” and “the abuse of power and the corruption.”
The committee sent letters to 81 people and entities, including the White House, the Justice Department, senior campaign officials, Trump Organization officials and the President’s sons. The investigation will address possible corruption, obstruction of justice, hush-money payments to women, potential Russian collusion and allegations that the President has abused his office and is using it for personal gain.
“We have to find out what’s been going on,” Nadler said, “and we have to lay out a case to the American people and reveal it.”
Ivanka Trump, senior adviser to the White House and Trump’s daughter, was not on the list but Nadler said she “quite conceivably” could be added later.
He said there have been “incessant” attacks by the administration on the rule of law, the Justice Department, the media, the judiciary and “norms that we depend upon to maintain democratic government.” He said the “real question” is “how do we protect the rule of law?”
“The President obviously doesn’t recognize the role of Congress in a democratic system,” Nadler said, adding, “It’s supposed to hold the administration accountable – that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Trump “doesn’t want Congress to do its job,” Nadler said, and his committee is “simply exercising our oversight jurisdiction.”
CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.