Who's hearing from House Democrats: Trump's family, business
By MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dozens of people with connections to President Donald Trump and his associates will receive document requests this week, as the House Judiciary Committee starts a broad new probe looking at possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.
Beginning a sweeping investigation that could shadow Trump as he runs for re-election, the panel sent letters to 81 people asking a flurry of questions about Trump’s activities before and after he was elected president. Those people included family, former business associates and current and former White House advisers.
A look at people and topics covered by the document requests:
BUSINESS AND FAMILY
The committee requested information from two of Trump’s children, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who are running the Trump Organization while their father is in the White House. While the panel asked the two sons some questions that touch on their business, the document requests also include questions about events that happened in the White House after their father was elected, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey and discussions surrounding the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, a White House senior adviser, was not on the Judiciary panel’s list.
Several other people related to the Trump Organization were sent letters, including the Trump Organization itself, Allen Weisselberg, the company’s chief financial officer and Rhona Graff, Trump’s longtime assistant.
Among other matters, the company officials were asked to provide documents regarding “any loan, financing transaction, or capital investment by the Russian Federation, any Russian national, any Russian business, or any other Russian entity to the Trump Organization.”
HUSH MONEY PAYMENTS
Many of the people who receive requests were asked about hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleged she had an affair with Donald Trump. Trump denies the affair.
The topic is currently under investigation by the Southern District of New York. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations for his involvement in the payments to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal before the 2016 election.
Cohen received a request from the panel, as did American Media Inc., the National Enquirer’s parent company, and its CEO David Pecker. Pecker helped kill potentially embarrassing stories about Trump over the years by paying hush money in a practice known as “catch-and-kill.”
The request asks American Media for “all documents that relate to the purchase of rights for any narrative, personal account, documentation, recording, or photograph (including but not limited to materials colloquially referred to as ‘catch and kill’) concerning Donald Trump from June 2015 to the present.”
TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Most of the participants in a 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between Trump’s campaign and a Russian lawyer received requests.
People attending the meeting included Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, publicist Rob Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, a translator and Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer.
All of them received requests asking for any documentation related to the meeting — materials they have all already turned over to the House and Senate intelligence committees, which have both been probing the meeting for almost two years.
WHITE HOUSE ADVISERS
Many of Trump’s top advisers in his first year in office were on the list, including Steve Bannon, longtime spokeswoman Hope Hicks, former Press Secretary Sean Spicer and former White House Counsel Don McGahn. All have since left the White House.
The advisers were asked about a wide variety of topics from Trump’s early months, including Comey’s firing, election interference and Mueller’s investigation.
The letters to Hicks and Spicer ask them to turn over any work diaries, journals or “a description of daily events related to your employment” by Trump. The committee asked McGahn for documents related to any discussion involving Trump regarding the possibility of firing Mueller around June of 2017 “or any conversation in which President Trump stated, in words or substance, that he wanted the Mueller investigation shut down, restrained or otherwise limited in or around December 2017.”
The committee requested documents from Julian Assange and his website, WikiLeaks, which published emails stolen from Democrats by Russian spies during the 2016 campaign. Assange is currently living in Ecuador’s embassy in London under a claim of asylum.
A letter to Assange asks for “discussions or attempts to provide or receive election information, campaign data, or campaign communications with, to, or from foreign entities or individuals in connection with the 2016 U.S. Presidential primary or general elections.”