The House Judiciary Committee announced on Monday that it received responses from a “large number” of the 81 individuals and entities who were asked to provide documents as part of the panel’s wide-ranging investigation into obstruction of justice allegations against President Donald Trump — but the committee was mum on details about who complied.
“I am encouraged by the responses we have received since sending these initial letters two weeks ago,” Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement on Monday, the deadline for document requests the committee sent on March 4.
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“It is my hope that we will receive cooperation from the remainder of the list, and will be working to find an appropriate accommodation with any individual who may be reluctant to cooperate with our investigation,” added Nadler.
The broad request for information came as the Judiciary Committee — the panel that has the power to launch impeachment proceedings against the president — kicked off its sweeping probe into allegations of corruption, abuses of power, and obstruction of justice against Trump.
The committee demanded documents from Trump’s namesake company, campaign, transition team and inaugural committee, in addition to dozens of Trump’s longtime associates and the president’s two adult sons, among others. Many of those individuals have already been ensnared in ongoing federal investigations, and others were implicated in former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen’s recent appearances before three congressional committees.
It’s an investigation that many Democrats believe could lead to a formal impeachment process. But for now, House Democratic leaders are attempting to tamp down any impeachment talk, arguing that it’s too early and too divisive of a topic — even as several House committees are intensifying their own investigations that Democrats acknowledge could produce evidence of impeachable offenses against the president.
The issue has divided the House Democratic caucus, particularly over the question of whether Republican support for the effort is necessary.
House Judiciary investigators remain in contact with some of the individuals who said they would only comply with the document requests if the committee issues a subpoena. Last week, Nadler referred to such actions as “friendly subpoenas.” He also said his staff had already heard from some who were “defiant” and would refuse to comply.
The committee said “many” of the individuals and entities who received letters from the panel earlier this month “have either sent or agreed to send documents” — which “already number in the tens of thousands.”
Most of the documents the committee asked for have already been turned over to special counsel Robert Mueller and to federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, both of which are investigating similar allegations involving the president and his associates.
Nadler on Monday did not disclose details about who complied with the committee’s demands, and the committee said it would not respond to questions about specific responses to their letters.
But at least one person, the president’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow, has told the committee that he does not have any of the documents that it requested, according to a source familiar with the president’s legal strategy.
Trump attorney Jane Raskin responded on behalf of Sekulow, telling the committee in a brief response that they were not in possession of any of the materials requested. The source said the request to Sekulow should have gone to the White House instead.
That’s because, the source added, Trump’s personal lawyers didn’t turn over any materials to Mueller or the Southern District of New York. Instead, all document production involved the Trump campaign and the White House.
The White House declined to comment on the status of its own response to Nadler.
Darren Samuelsohn and Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.