A US congressional panel has kicked off a sweeping investigation into alleged abuses by President Donald Trump and his associates. The probe could pave the way for an impeachment attempt.
The US House Judiciary Committee on Monday sent document requests to 81 government agencies, entities and individuals as part of a probe into President Donald Trump and those linked to him.
The committee, which is among other things responsible for impeachments of federal officials, says the probe will focus on possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by Trump himself, within his White House, during his campaign and in his business activities.
"Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical and constitutional rules and norms," Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in announcing the launch of the investigation.
"Investigating these threats to the rule of law in an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee," he added.
He also issued a tweet announcing the probe.
Trump implied on Monday that he would work with the panel: "I cooperate all the time with everybody," he told a reporter who asked whether he would help Nadler.
Close relatives and associates
The probe comes following mid-term elections in the US that gave Democrats a majority over Trump's Republicans in the House.
The new investigation also follows an announcement by the House intelligence panel that it is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election that brought Trump to power, and Trump's foreign business interests.
Among those served with document requests are Trump's sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is a White House aide, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, the president's former close adviser Steve Bannon and former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Myriad of possible abuses
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. Another focus will be possible abuses of presidential power such as offers of pardon or witness tampering.
Trump and his campaign team are also currently under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into their possible collusion with Russia in the run-up to the 2016 elections. That investigation is reportedly almost finished and will be delivered to new Attorney General WIliam Barr, who will decide which findings from it will be made public and which will be solely presented to Congress.
tj/jm (AP, Reuters)