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Jayapal: Democrats Are Ready to Issue Subpoenas If White House Blocks New Requests for Documents

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The House Judiciary Committee launched a wide-ranging investigation Monday into President Trump, his businesses and his allies, as lawmakers probe possible obstruction of justice, corruption and other crimes and abuses of power. The committee requested documents from at least 81 people or groups, who now have a March 18 deadline to respond. The list includes his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, WikiLeaks, AMI chief David Pecker, the Department of Justice, the FBI, Trump’s charities and the founder of private security firm Blackwater, Erik Prince—who is also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. We speak with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Congressmember, on another topic, you’re a member of the House Judiciary Committee. The chairman, Jerrold Nadler, has requested, of more than 80 people connected to President Trump, documents looking at potential violations of the law. Some people are criticizing this as a wide net, an overreach by the committee. Your response?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Well, you know, we submitted—Chairman Nadler submitted document requests for 81 agencies and individuals and the White House, and these are documents that have already been developed and provided to other investigations, like the Southern District of New York investigation. These are already-prepared documents. There’s nothing onerous about this request. But for two years, Republicans have blocked Democrats from doing our job on the Judiciary Committee, which is to look into obstruction of justice, public corruption and abuses of power. Those are the three areas. Judiciary Committee has wide breadth over those three areas. They’re our constitutional responsibility. These documents go to the core of those three issues.

And so, I hope that the White House does not start blocking all of our requests for these documents, because then we’re going to have to start subpoenaing people, and I don’t think that’s what the American people want. The White House has prepared these documents. These agencies have prepared these documents. They should just turn them over to us. If you have nothing to hide, let us look at everything. Let us do our investigations. And let’s make the decision about what is actually happening and expose that. So, that’s what I hope happens. Unfortunately, that’s not—doesn’t seem to be the way the White House is moving. But I think Americans then want to know: What are you trying to hide? Why are you trying to hide this?

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Congressmember Jayapal, do you support calls for impeachment of President Trump?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Well, as you know, I—as you probably know, I signed on to those articles of impeachment in the last Congress, in the 115th Congress, because I believed we needed to be having these discussions. Now that we are in control, our perspective is we have to get all of this information, lay it out for the American people, because, as you know, Amy, impeachment has to happen through a two-thirds majority in the Senate. We need to have Republicans on board. We need to have Americans on board. And we need to make sure we have all of the information, which we were prevented from getting. So, now, let us go through this investigation. Let us get all of this and make sure that we are in a place where we can understand exactly what happened, and then lay out that information for people to see.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Pramila Jayapal, we thank you very much for being with us, Democratic congressmember from Washington state, lead co-sponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus in Congress.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America. We’ll speak with professor Greg Grandin. Stay with us.

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