Nadler asks other House chairs to provide records that would help panel in making impeachment decision

Nadler asks other House chairs to provide records that would help panel in making impeachment decision
© Greg Nash

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime Lewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media MORE (D-N.Y.) is asking four other top committee leaders to share any documents or materials they think could be related to his committee’s investigation into possible obstruction and potential abuses of power by President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE.

In a letter on Thursday, Nadler wrote to Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump whistleblower complaint involves Ukraine: report Democrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint Whistleblower complaint based on multiple incidents; watchdog won't disclose info MORE (D-Calif.), Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFederal agency to resume processing some deferred-action requests for migrants Overnight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort Top Oversight Democrat demands immigration brass testify MORE (D-Md.), Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Manufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank Democrats' impeachment message leads to plenty of head-scratching MORE (D-Calif.) and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse chairman reaches deal on classified briefing with Trump's Afghanistan negotiator Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine House chairman subpoenas Trump's Afghanistan negotiator MORE (D-N.Y.) to ask them to provide such information as Nadler's committee weighs whether to introduce articles of impeachment against the president.

"I am writing to request information, including documents and testimony, depositions, and/or interview transcripts, that you believe may be relevant to the Judiciary Committee's ongoing impeachment investigation relating to President Trump," Nadler wrote. "I look forward to our Committees working together on this matter of the highest constitutional importance." 

ADVERTISEMENT

Nadler said this request to pool information comes after the Judiciary and Intelligence panels agreed to share grand jury information if the committee wins its lawsuit seeking such materials. By asking other House investigators to share information, Nadler is expanding his probe to include more of the lower chamber. 

"The requests described herein would build on that sharing agreement and would similarly allow for sensitive or confidential information to be received in executive session as needed," Nadler wrote. 

He also noted that such sharing is consistent with House rules, while noting the "information shall be subject to any requirements and limitations imposed by law, House Rules, and the rules of our respective Committees."

The move comes as the Judiciary Committee is examining almost a dozen possible episodes of obstruction by Trump as laid out by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE

While Mueller's investigation did not find sufficient evidence that members of the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, the former special counsel did not make a determination either way on obstruction. Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDemocrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt The Hill's 12:30 Report: Questions swirl around Trump whistleblower complaint MORE and other top Justice Department officials ultimately made the decision that the evidence in the report did not reach the threshold to charge Trump.

Democrats, who have dismissed Barr's determination, say it is up to them to decide whether the president obstructed justice and whether his actions reach the threshold of committing "high crimes and misdemeanors."

At the same time Republicans have blasted Democrats, accusing them of putting on a political charade that aims to damage Trump ahead of 2020, particularly by replaying the Mueller probe.

But as the Democrat-led committee has sought to investigate obstruction by Trump, it has encountered strong opposition from the White House, particularly with the Trump administration ordering former and current White House officials not to testify.

Earlier this month, the committee filed a civil lawsuit to enforce a subpoena for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn, arguing that if they win that case, other former and current White House aides would also be compelled to appear on Capitol Hill.

McGahn is seen as a key witness, particularly because of his testimony to Mueller that Trump ordered him to have the special counsel removed after the president learned that he was under investigation for obstruction.

The White House has argued that under the standard of immunity, confidential protections offered to the executive branch apply to current and former aides, effectively preventing them from disclosing what took place during their time in the administration.

While both Republican and Democratic administrations have invoked the immunity concept, legal experts say there is virtually no case law on the subject, with some predicting the White House is likely to lose if it's challenged in court.

Last week, the committee also issued two subpoenas seeking the public testimony of former campaign manager Cory Lewandowski and former White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn by mid-September.