Democrat Party members of the House Oversight Committee say that when the party takes control of the House of Representatives this January, they plan to look into alleged hush money payments that were made to women President Donald Trump paid to stay silent about supposed affairs he had with them.
Democrats on the committee can use their subpoena powers once they assume the power to obtain documents relevant to said payments if they exist, according to reporting from ABC News.
Trump has denied in the past of ever having made such payments, which would have been made to Playboy model Karen McDougal as well as adult film actor and director Stormy Daniels. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also suggested that the payments, if they did happen, wouldn’t be wrongdoing on Trump’s part.
“Since the payments were not campaign contributions based on the [Federal Elections Commission] rulings it would be as useless as Mueller’s absurd investigation of Russian collusion, which has established that the only Russian involvement was collusion with Hillary and DNC to produce fraudulent Steele dossier.”
But elections law maintains that payments need not be from the campaign to be illegal. Any payment that’s in an effort to influence or sway an election — including hush money payments — needs to be disclosed to the FEC, even if they’re made personally from a candidate or even from another person, per reporting from NBC News.
Dem Lawmakers in Iowa House are calling on Gov't Oversight committee to expand investigation into socalled hush money pic.twitter.com/v0S83Shh6I
— Clay Masters (@Clay_Masters) April 14, 2014
It’s possible these payments were made for precisely that reason, especially in light of the fact that some of the payments were made just weeks before Election Day in 2016.
There are many reasons to believe that Trump was directly involved in paying off these women. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen suggested as much in a plea statement earlier this year. A recording involving Cohen and Trump, in which the latter says to pay one of these women in cash (presumably for her agreeing to be silent about an alleged affair between the two of them) was also obtained by CNN this past summer.
Per a previous reporting from the Inquisitr, other sources close to an investigation looking into these payments also suggested that Trump played a bigger part in them than he’s letting on. These sources have said that Trump was involved in “nearly every step” of the payoff process.
When Democrats take control over the House Oversight Committee, it’s possible that they’ll want to get their hands on the information these sources have regarding the alleged involvement of the president in paying off McDougal and Daniels. But at the same time, current Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) has said he won’t be “handing out subpoenas like somebody’s handing out candy on Halloween,” according to a report from Politico.
“If I have to use them, they will be used in a methodical way, and it must be in the public interest,” Cummings added.