House Democrats planning to hold hearings regarding Trump's role in hush-money payments: report

House Democrats will reportedly prioritize a congressional inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE’s alleged role in payments to silence two women who say they had affairs with Trump before he took office.

The Washington Post reports the House Judiciary Committee, when it returns to Washington next week, plans to hold hearings and call witnesses to testify who have knowledge of the hush-money payments to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film star Stephanie Clifford, known by her stage name Stormy Daniels.

While a federal probe into campaign finance violations committed by Trump’s former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenDOJ releases hundreds of pages of memos from Mueller probe Scaramucci visits Cohen in prison US Supreme Court readies for Trump MORE for his role in the payments made to the women alleging affairs is over, Democrats reportedly believe there is enough evidence to pursue an inquiry of their own.

The Post reports hearings on the matter could take place as early as October.


Cohen is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for his role in the payments to the women and other federal crimes he pleaded guilty to last year. He testified under oath earlier this year that Trump directed the payments that led to the campaign finance violations.

Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats aim to impeach Trump by Christmas Pressure builds on Pompeo as impeachment inquiry charges ahead Democrats set stage for Watergate-style TV hearings MORE (D-Md.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Post that there is ample evidence against Trump.

“The fingerprints are all over this one — it’s not like a big mystery,” he said. “As with the evidence of presidential obstruction of justice, the conclusion seems inescapable: that [Trump] would have been tried had he been anybody else. And now it’s left to Congress again to figure out what to do with the lawbreaking and apparent impunity of the president.”

As part of the probe, Democrats are reportedly considering calling chairman and CEO of American Media Inc. David Pecker as a potential witness.

The National Enquirer, which is owned by American Media Inc., admitted to making the payment to McDougal to keep her silent about her alleged affair with Trump.

Jay SekulowJay Alan SekulowDemocrats to test Trump as impeachment moves to new stage Mulvaney faces uncertain future after public gaffes The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's impeachment jeopardy deepens MORE, Trump’s personal attorney, told the Post that Trump was not involved in committing any campaign violations.

The inquiry by House Democrats will be the latest in a string of probes into Trump’s conduct as more and more Democrats come forward calling for an impeachment inquiry against Trump to begin.

More than 130 House Democrats to date have called for an impeachment inquiry to start, but House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Klobuchar: 'I have seen no reason why' Hunter Biden would need to testify Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' MORE (D-Calif.) has pumped the brakes on the call for impeachment, noting it does not make sense if the necessary votes can’t be secured in both the House and Senate.