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White House Blasts Congressional Democrats Seeking Files From Trump Associates

Under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrats have used their new majority in the House of Representatives to launch aggressive new investigations of the Trump White House.
Under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrats have used their new majority in the House of Representatives to launch aggressive new investigations of the Trump White House.

The White House has lashed out at congressional Democrats, calling a sweeping request by a House of Representatives committee for files from dozens of President Donald Trump associates "disgraceful and abusive."

Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders issued the statement on March 4, hours after the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee sent letters to 81 individuals and entities as part of a broad investigation into White House ties with Russia.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the committee chairman spearheading the probe, asserted it was Congress's obligation to "provide a check on abuses of power" by the White House.

Sanders called the effort a "fishing expedition."

"Today, Chairman Nadler opened up a disgraceful and abusive investigation into tired, false allegations already investigated by the special counsel and committees in both chambers of Congress," she said in a statement.

"Chairman Nadler and his fellow Democrats have embarked on this fishing expedition because they are terrified that their two-year false narrative of 'Russia collusion' is crumbling," she said.

Among those sent letters by the committee were Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, Georgian-American businessman Irakly Kaveladze, and companies linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the St. Petersburg businessman known for close ties to the Kremlin.

Others targeted in the Judiciary Committee letter were Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, Vekselberg's American cousin Andrew Intrater, and Felix Sater, a Soviet-born real-estate developer who has partnered with Trump in the past.

The committee said for now it was requesting the records be turned over voluntarily, but would resort to subpoenas if it didn't get what it had requested.

Asked by reporters whether he would cooperate with the probe, Trump said, "I cooperate all the time with everybody."

The move comes as Democrats, who took control of the House in November elections, start moving more aggressively to investigate a range of political and legal matters surrounding Trump and his 2016 election campaign.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, meanwhile, is expected to deliver a potentially explosive report to the attorney general regarding his nearly two-year probe into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and interactions between Trump's campaign associates and Russian officials.

Like House Democrats, Mueller has also been exploring whether Trump sought to obstruct his investigation or others that have arisen from it.

Trump rejects allegations of collusion between his campaign and Moscow, and the Kremlin denies meddling in the U.S. election.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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