WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the US Congress unleashed an unexpectedly sweeping series of demands in their investigations of President Donald Trump on Monday, seeking information about his communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin and documents from 81 sources in an obstruction probe.
The heads of the House of Representatives Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees wrote to the White House and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seeking documents and interviews with personnel about Mr Trump’s conversations with Mr Putin.
The lawmakers expressed concern about media reports that Mr Trump seized notes on at least one meeting with the Russian leader and tried to destroy records about those talks.
“These allegations, if true, raise profound national security, counterintelligence, and foreign policy concerns, especially in light of Russia’s ongoing active measures campaign to improperly influence American elections,” Chairmen Adam Schiff, Elliot Engel and Elijah Cummings wrote in their letter.
“The president may choose to share, or not share the contents of those conversations publicly as such discussions – like all diplomatic discussions – are often sensitive in nature,” the spokesman said on condition of anonymity, urging the panels to respect Mr Trump’s authority to conduct foreign policy.
The request for information about communications with Mr Putin followed the powerful House Judiciary Committee’s demand for documents from a who’s who of Mr Trump’s turbulent world, targeting 81 people, government agencies and other groups in a probe into possible obstruction of justice or abuse of power.
The Republican president faces investigations from several congressional committees, as well as the 22-month-long federal special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign worked with Moscow to sway the outcome.
The Judiciary Committee listed Trump family members, current and former business employees, Republican campaign staffers and former White House aides, as well as the FBI, White House and WikiLeaks were listed as recipients of documents requests.
At the White House, Mr Trump was asked if he would cooperate with Mr Nadler’s probe. “I cooperate all the time with everybody,” he said before adding: “You know the beautiful thing? No collusion. It’s all a hoax…It’s a political hoax.”