Dems seek to force House vote on Trump campaign’s Russia ties
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Democrats introduced a measure on Thursday that could force the House to vote on demanding documents from President Trump and Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony Rosenstein defends Mueller appointment, role on surveillance warrants MORE outlining Trump campaign contacts with Russian officials.

Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) unveiled a resolution of inquiry, a rarely used procedure which Democrats have revived this year under the Trump administration.
 
Under House rules, their resolution must either be considered by a committee within 14 legislative days or automatically brought to the floor for a vote.
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It will first go to the House Judiciary Committee, which can approve it for floor consideration or review it unfavorably and prevent it from moving forward.

“The American people deserve to know why the nation's Attorney General and all of the president's men were in frequent contact with Russian operatives during the election,” Jeffries said in a statement. “Something stinks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We are determined to find out if the rot goes all the way to the top.”

“The American people have an absolute right to know the truth about Trump and his team's ties to Russia now,” Lieu said.

The resolution specifically requests information to clarify the circumstances surrounding Sessions’s meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last year and his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January denying he had any contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.

Sessions was the first GOP senator to endorse Trump and advised him on national security issues.

After The Washington Post reported Sessions’s testimony omitted his meeting with Kislyak, the attorney general announced he would recuse himself from any investigation related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The Democratic resolution also asks for information about meetings between Russian officials and members of Trump’s campaign or transition teams, including the president himself.

Ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn, White House adviser and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, lobbyist Richard Burt, and past advisers Roger Stone, Carter Page, J.D. Gordon and Michael Cohen are also mentioned.

Resolutions of inquiry rarely reach the House floor. The last one to reach the floor was in 1995, according to the Congressional Research Service.

But it's not the first time Democrats have tried using a resolution of inquiry to force a vote related to Trump and his ties to Russia.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee blocked Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-N.Y.) resolution requesting information about Trump’s possible business conflicts of interest and potential Russia connections.

Democrats have also twice forced votes on the House floor to demand copies of Trump’s tax returns. Both efforts similarly went down along party lines.

But two Republicans, Reps. Mark Sanford (S.C.) and Walter Jones (N.C.), both endorsed a Democratic effort – in the form of a letter to the committees with oversight of the Internal Revenue Service – requesting Trump’s tax returns.