President Donald Trump called a new investigation into his conduct by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee a “political hoax” on March 4, while saying he will cooperate with a document request from committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).
“I cooperate all the time with everybody. You know the beautiful thing—no collusion. It’s all a hoax,” Trump said at the White House, while hosting the 2018 Division I Football Championship Subdivision champion North Dakota State University Bison.
“You’re going to learn about that as you grow older,” Trump said as several football players chuckled. “It’s a political hoax. There’s no collusion.”
The House Judiciary Committee is looking into “alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power” by the president. The committee’s press release offered no evidence for any of the allegations. The panel sent document requests to 81 people and entities, including Trump’s family, campaign staff, current and former White House officials, and government agencies.
“We have sent these document requests in order to begin building the public record,” Nadler said in a statement. “We will act quickly to gather this information, assess the evidence, and follow the facts where they lead with full transparency with the American people.”
Shedding light on how partial the investigation would be, Nadler told ABC News before he issued the document requests that he’s convinced that Trump has obstructed justice.
Large-scale investigations led by the FBI, Congress, and special counsel Robert Mueller haven’t yielded any evidence of wrongdoing by Trump. The House and Senate intelligence committees found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Meanwhile, Mueller, who took over the FBI investigation in 2017, isn’t expected to charge Trump with any misconduct in a forthcoming report.
“The House Judiciary Committee’s letter has been received by the White House,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “The Counsel’s Office and relevant White House officials will review it and respond at the appropriate time.”
Democrats secured the majority in the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election, and with it, the power to launch investigations. Republicans see the probe by the judiciary committee is part of a larger effort by House Democrats to use investigative powers to hamstring Trump and his 2020 campaign, a tactic the president calls “presidential harassment.”
“Presidential Harassment by ‘crazed’ Democrats at the highest level in the history of our Country. Likewise, the most vicious and corrupt Mainstream Media that any president has ever had to endure, yet the most successful first two years for any President,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“We are WINNING big, the envy of the WORLD, but just think what it could be?”
A committee lawyer told reporters the immediate aim is to amass a large trove of evidence to guide the investigation and help decide which witnesses to approach. The panel is prepared to use its subpoena power if needed, the lawyer said.
Republicans in Congress said that Democrats are pursuing an impeachment agenda against Trump as part of a political strategy to reclaim the White House in the 2020 election.
Reuters contributed to this report.