Donald Trump had been president for less than a month when a top Democrat began taking steps that could lead to his impeachment.
The Washington Post reported that Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) filed a “resolution of inquiry” into President Trump. A resolution of inquiry is used to force presidents and other members of the executive branch to share records with Congress.
In Nadler’s resolution, he asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to, within 14 days, provide Congress with “copies of any document, record, memo, correspondence, or other communication of the Department of Justice” that provides information on investigations of Trump and his associates, his foreign business interests, and potential conflicts of interest, including those that would violate the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
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If compromising information about President Trump was revealed as a result of Nadler’s resolution, it could potentially have served as the first step in impeaching Trump.
In a statement explaining his decision to file the resolution, Nadler, who is the second-ranking Democrat in the House Judiciary Committee, said:
‘Democrats have repeatedly asked the Majority, in letters to Chairman Goodlatte and Speaker Ryan, to investigate these ongoing conflicts of interest, and those requests have been ignored.’
The Congressman also outlined the issues he has with the Republican Party’s refusals to investigate Trump.
‘Republicans have shown zero willingness to follow through on their duty to conduct oversight, and they must be held accountable if they are truly willing to abdicate this constitutional obligation and must be made to answer to the American people for that failure.’
Nadler also laid out the problems he sees with Donald Trump’s presidency, including his foreign business dealings and his refusal to release his tax returns.
‘Donald Trump has refused to step away from his business interests in any meaningful way, his foreign entanglements are likely unconstitutional, he has repeatedly refused to disclose his financial assets, and he is clouded by the specter of Russian intervention in the election and his Administration.’
The statement ends with Nadler explaining that he believes his resolution “represents a start” to getting a deeper look into the inner workings of Trump administration, which he calls “the least transparent Administration in modern history.”
‘We must know what the Department has learned about the Administration’s connections to the Russian government. We must review the Department’s legal analysis—if there is any—of the President’s feeble attempt to remedy his wide-ranging ethics problems. We must conduct oversight of the least transparent Administration in modern history. This resolution represents a start.’
Ultimately, the resolution was swiftly voted down by House Republicans later in February. While Nadler was clearly disappointed, he also said that he thought his resolution would inspire Democrats on other committees to take similar action.
Since the resolution was struck down, a number of House Democrats have stepped up and continued to demand more of President Trump. Between these demands and the ongoing investigation into Trump’s Russia ties, impeachment still doesn’t seem impossible.