Congress seeks info on private Trump-Putin chats

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Ty Cobb, the veteran Washington attorney who represented the White House as special counsel Robert Mueller ramped up his investigation into Russian meddling, said he considers the man leading the probe "an American hero" and does not share President Donald Trump's view that the Russia inquiry is a politically motivated hoax.

The House Judiciary Committee already reportedly tapped "81 people and entities-including the White House, the Justice Department, senior campaign officials, Trump Organization officials and the President's sons" on topics that include "possible corruption, obstruction of justice, hush-money payments to women, collusion with Russian Federation and allegations of the President abusing his office and using it for personal gain".

Nadler said the special counsel and prosecutors in the Southern District of NY, which are probing many of Trump's associates, were aware of the committee's investigation launch. Potential abuses of power include attacks on the press and judiciary and use of presidential pardon power, Judiciary aides said. Comey was sacked by Trump in May 2017 over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private server and email accounts for official business during her time as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the House investigation a "disgraceful and abusive. fishing expedition".

Nadler said Mueller and prosecutors conducting investigators in the Manhattan US Attorney's Office are aware of the committee's action.

A White House spokeswoman said the Democrats were "harassing" Mr Trump.

He also pointed out that in the indictments to date, including of Russian hackers and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, there was "no link to Trump or the campaign". "She's not on the initial list, that's all we can say", Nadler said of Ivanka Trump. Cobb also stressed that the decision was the President's - Cobb was just the one who "advised" it - and that it still involved "extensive negotiations" with Mueller's team as to what the White House would offer.

Although Trump has told pals there was no way he would let Mnuchin release the returns, the 1924 law does not appear to give the Treasury secretary mush wiggle room, as the law says he "shall" turn over the records, the paper reported.

Comey was leading an investigation into Russian activities in the 2016 United States presidential election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign when the president fired him in May 2017.

This means that Trump's widespread business interests are on the Judiciary Committee's radar-if not the investigatory chopping block.

President Donald Trump blasted Democrats, saying they have "gone stone cold crazy" as they continue their investigations of him. "I'd be embarrassed if this is still haunting the White House" by the end of 2017, he added.

Republicans on the committee charge that Nadler is baselessly pursuing investigations towards impeachment.

Two of his children - Eric and Donald Trump Jr. - are also on the list of 81, as is son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The list of people from whom Democrats sought documents for a corruption investigation of the president covered a who's who of Trump family members and associates.

And yet, congressional Democrats are demanding documents pertaining to the Trump Organization and the 2016 campaign two years later. Cohen testified to the Oversight and Reform Committee last week that Weisselberg would be able to support his claims that the president knew about the probed hush-money payments made to women alleging extramarital affairs with Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign in exchange for their silence, among other alleged business deals.

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