Tuesday 15 October 2019

Trump could be impeached over 'cover-up', claims Pelosi

Tensions mounting: Calls are growing for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to impeach US President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
Tensions mounting: Calls are growing for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to impeach US President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

Dean Gray

Pressure is intensifying on Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

Ms Pelosi said the US president was engaged in obstruction of justice and a cover-up which could be an impeachable offence.

"The fact is, in plain sight in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he's engaged in a cover-up - and that could be an impeachable offence," Ms Pelosi said.

On Wednesday, in an angry outburst, Mr Trump said he wouldn't work with Democrats until they drop their probes of his administration.

But they were on a collision course long before the confrontation in the Cabinet Room. Mr Trump has been betting the future of his presidency on trying to goad Democrats into impeaching him, and the three-minute meeting marked a new low in the slow-moving drama over executive powers, congressional oversight and the critical needs of the nation.

Mr Trump's declaration that he would end any attempt at bipartisan co-operation until Democrats drop their probes of his administration was eagerly retold by representatives of both parties.

The two sides echoed long-drawn rhetorical battle lines in the hours that followed.

But tensions are mounting.

Ms Pelosi's comments come as a federal judge has rejected a request by Mr Trump to block congressional subpoenas for his banking records. The decision is a blow to the president in his bid to battle Democratic investigations into his personal finances.

The decision in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York could clear the way for Deutsche Bank and Capital One to hand over the president's financial records to Democrats in the House. Mr Trump's attorneys could appeal the decision.

Attorneys for Mr Trump, his family and the Trump Organisation filed for a preliminary injunction earlier this month as part of a lawsuit seeking to block the two institutions from handing over documents to the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees.

"There will be no way to unring the bell once the banks give Congress the requested information," William Consovoy, Patrick Strawbridge and Marc Mukasey wrote.

"The committees will have reviewed confidential documents that this court may later determine were illegally subpoenaed."

But US District Judge Edgardo Ramos said that Mr Trump's lawsuit was unlikely to succeed.

Deutsche Bank and Capital One did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The ruling came two days after a federal judge in Washington rejected the Trump legal team's argument in a separate case seeking to block the House Oversight Committee's demands for records from Mr Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA.

Mr Trump's attorneys notified the judge on Tuesday that they have appealed "all aspects" of that ruling.

Ms Pelosi welcomed the ruling, saying she was "very excited" by the news.

"Two in one week: Mazar Monday, Deutsche Bank today," she said.

"Another day, another very important ruling," House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said. "Different judge, same opinion: the Trump legal arguments are without merit."

Deutsche Bank has been a major lender to both the Trump Organisation and Kushner Companies, which previously was run by Mr Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who now is a presidential adviser.

Deutsche Bank has loaned or been a co-lender of at least $2.5bn (€2.24bn) to Mr Trump's business, much of it at a time when other banks declined providing money to him, according to a 'Wall Street Journal' report.

At one point, when Mr Trump had trouble paying back a loan for a Chicago tower, Mr Trump sued the bank, saying it had played a role in a broader financial crisis that hurt the project.

Mr Trump and the bank eventually settled the case.

Shortly before the presidential election day in 2016, Deutsche Bank finalised a $285m (€255m) loan to Mr Kushner's real estate company, the 'Washington Post' has previously reported.

At the time, the bank was negotiating settlements with federal and New York regulators.

Congressional Democrats have long said they want to examine the bank's loans to the Trump and Kushner businesses, particularly to see if there is any connection to money-laundering in Russia.

Irish Independent

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