Nadler uses obscure House rule to pressure Trump
Lawmaker seeks information on president’s Russia ties
As controversy continued to swirl around the White House, a lawmaker who has been a member of the House of Representatives for nearly a quarter of century is using his vast knowledge of Capitol Hill rules to try and force the Trump administration to reveal information on any investigations into allegations of the president’s ties to Russia, possible conflicts of interest or ethical violations.
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who was first elected in 1992, has introduced an obscure measure called a Resolution of Inquiry. The resolution seeks to direct the U.S. Department of Justice to provide the House with information relevant to inquiries into any conflicts of interest, ethical violations and Russian ties on the part of the president or his associates.
A Resolution of Inquiry is a little-known legislative tool that can be brought to the floor for a vote if the relevant House committee doesn’t take action on it within 14 legislative days, even if the majority leadership has not scheduled the measure for a vote.
Nadler (D-Manhattan-Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst) is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Under House rules, the Judiciary Committee can report the resolution “unfavorably” to prevent it from going to the floor. But if the Judiciary Committee does not schedule the resolution for a markup within 14 legislative days, it becomes a so-called “privileged resolution” and can be brought to the floor of the House for a vote. Markup is the process by which a committee debates, rewrites and prepares a bill for the floor.
Nadler said he took the extraordinary step because repeated requests Democrats have made to Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan to investigate the president’s potential conflicts of interest have been ignored.
There is a lot to investigate, according to Nadler.
“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. 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 said in a statement.
Nadler’s resolution was introduced in the wake of two formal requests sent to Goodlatte for hearings into federal conflict of interest and ethical provisions that may apply to the president and an investigation of the legal structure and practices of the “trust” being managed by Donald Trump’s sons.
Nadler said he also sent a letter to Ryan asking for any information needed to evaluate Donald Trump’s financial entanglements for conflicts of interest and constitutional violations, along with detailing any uncovered ties between Russia and the president.
The president and his staff have continuously pushed back on any accusations of wrongdoing.
“The law is totally on my side. The president can’t have a conflict of interest,” Trump told The New York Times in December.
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