Trump blasts House Democrats over probe

VIDEO: REUTERS

He accuses judiciary panel of harassing 'innocent people' in its 'fishing expedition'

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump has lashed out at House Democratic leaders, saying they had "gone stone cold CRAZY" by launching a sweeping new investigation into his inner circle, slamming the move as a "big, fat, fishing expedition".

In morning tweets yesterday, Mr Trump asserted that letters sent on Monday were meant to harass "innocent people" and were borne of frustration among Democrats for not being able to prove coordination between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

"Now that they realize the only Collusion with Russia was done by Crooked Hillary Clinton & the Democrats, Nadler, Schiff and the Dem heads of the Committees have gone stone cold CRAZY," Mr Trump wrote, referring to House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, and House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff.

Mr Trump wrote: "81 letter (sic) sent to innocent people to harass them... They won't get ANYTHING done for our Country!"

In subsequent tweets, Mr Trump accused Democrats of conducting a "big, fat, fishing expedition" and wrote: "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!"

Mr Trump's angry response came a day after Mr Nadler sent letters demanding all communications on a host of controversies surrounding Mr Trump, as the panel probes whether the President and his administration have engaged in obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.

Mr Trump said the House Judiciary Committee investigation of his alleged crimes was "the greatest overreach in the history of our Country".

"The real crime is what the Dems are doing, and have done!" he said.

Democrats, who took control of the House of Representatives in January, suspect Mr Trump of a slew of potentially impeachable offences. The powerful judiciary committee on Monday requested information from 81 Trump-connected individuals and entities, including the President's sons, Don Jr and Eric, and close advisers.

Mr Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and the Trump Organisation's long-time chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg were among the 81 people and groups, including the National Rifle Association.

Also included in the group were the former White House aides Stephen Bannon and Hope Hicks, Mr Trump's current personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, former attorney-general Jeff Sessions and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"This is a critical time for our nation, and we have a responsibility to investigate these matters and hold hearings for the public to have all the facts," Mr Nadler said in a statement.

"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," he said. "Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress."

 

Mr Trump himself had initially swatted away the probe as a "political hoax", but said he would cooperate. He later hardened his reaction, tweeting earlier that any effort by the Democrats to probe new avenues of possible wrongdoing "will never work".

Conspicuously absent from the list of Mr Nadler's targets - who have two weeks to respond - is the President's eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser married to Mr Kushner.

The chairmen of three other House panels also joined the fray, demanding the White House produce details of communications between Mr Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr Nadler's probe also touches on matters including the firing of former FBI director James Comey and hush payments made to women who say they had affairs with Mr Trump.

Mr Nadler also sought documents from organisations like Cambridge Analytica - a data company that worked with the Trump campaign.

WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'Trump blasts House Democrats over probe'. Print Edition | Subscribe