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 NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution 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 TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE.

In a letter on Thursday, Nadler wrote to Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats sharpen their message on impeachment White House struggles to get in sync on impeachment Hillicon Valley: Microsoft pushes for DACA fix ahead of court hearing | Twitter seeks feedback on 'deepfakes' | Trump officials unveil plan to notify public of 2020 interference MORE (D-Calif.), Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings's widow, will run for his House seat Former NAACP president to run for Cummings's House seat Elijah Cummings's widow 'thinking carefully' about running for his old seat MORE (D-Md.), Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersDivides over China, fossil fuels threaten House deal to reboot Ex-Im Bank Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers unleash on Zuckerberg | House passes third election interference bill | Online extremism legislation advances in House | Google claims quantum computing breakthrough On The Money: Lawmakers hammer Zuckerberg over Facebook controversies | GOP chair expects another funding stopgap | Senate rejects Dem measure on SALT deduction cap workarounds MORE (D-Calif.) and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation House Democrats pull subpoena for ex-Trump national security official 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." 

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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 MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' 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 BarrGiuliani considers launching impeachment podcast The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment drama will dominate this week Impeachment tests Barr-Trump relationship 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.