WASHINGTON (AP) – The House Democrats are reinforcing their efforts to investigate President Donald Trump and his staff, hiring new lawyers and employees as they take over responsibility and prepare for a demonstration of access to special counsel Robert Mueller's last Russian report.
President of the Domestic Affairs Committee Jerrold Nadler said on Tuesday that he has hired two veteran lawyers and Trump critics as his panel goes up to investigate the Ministry of Justice and review Mueller's final conclusions when released. Nadler and other Democrats have pushed Trump's candidate for lawyer William Barr to release as much of the report as possible.
The two prominent lawyers, Barry Berke and Norman Eisen, could also provide expertise for repression if the Democrats decide that some point to pursue it. The rents signal that while democracies have been cautious about whether they ultimately choose to try to remove the president from the office, they move aggressively with supervision as they wait for Mueller to finish his own investigation.
The judiciary is determined to "ask critical questions, gather all the information, assess the evidence demonstrably, and assess that facts are not hidden from the American people," Nadler said. He said that Berke and Eisen were maintained as a consulting firm as a "special oversight staff" and they wanted to hear about issues relating to the Justice Department and Mueller's investigation into Russian interference and relations with the Trump campaign.
Key figures on the House Committee Committee
Nadler did not mention the statement in the statement that informed the rents, but noted that Trump is facing "numerous claims" about corruption and obstruction.  "His behavior and raw statements threaten the basic legal, ethical and constitutional norms that uphold our democratic institutions," Nadler said. "Congress has a constitutional duty to be a control and balance against abuse of power when needed."
The House's intelligence committee also prepares a broad study of Trump's economy and foreign relations and has added new staff with experience from the National Security Council. One of them, Abigail Grace, worked for both Trump and former President Barack Obama at the NSC.
Although committee investigations can cause significant heartburn for Trump, lawmakers know that they are a little limited in what they can do because they do not have the ability to conduct a criminal investigation as Mueller does. So they say access to their final report will be significant.
It is unclear what the special report's final report will look like. Barr has said that he wants to be as transparent as possible under the Ministry of Justice's provisions, but these rules only require a report to explain the decisions to pursue or reject prosecutions. Democrats have said they want much more information than that – and are prepared to fight to get it. Nadler has repeatedly said that he would persuade Mueller for a report or demand that he appear.
To this end, Top Democrats in Parliament and the Senate have discussed ways to strengthen their legal teams in anticipation of the fight. As part of their strategy, several Senate Democrats who met with Barr said that if he did not compile a comprehensive report on Mueller's probe to the congress, their house colleges would consider condemning Mueller's investigators, a person familiar with the case. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
At several meetings, Barr had key democrats, he was specifically asked if he would block promotions or efforts to force the investigators to appear before the congress, but gave non-response, the person said.
Most Democrats are planning to vote against Barr this week when the Senate considers his nomination. Many of them say they had hoped that he would be more forthcoming about the release of the report. Still, Barr is expected to be confirmed. Senators voted 55-44 on Tuesday to proceed with the nomination and put a final confirmation vote before the end of the week.
Both Eisen and Burke have been high-profile critics of Trump, and the co-authors a Brookings Institution report released last year, which brought a case for his persecution. The report said "it has been shown that the president's pattern of potentially obstructive behavior is much more extensive than we knew."
Eisen served as a White House's advice to Obama and has focused on government ethics and corruption as a co-founder of the Washington Citizenship and Ethics group. Berke is a lawyer for top-notch and white-law lawyer based in New York.
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the Supreme Republican of the Judiciary Committee, criticized the rents and the "sharp partisans" Eisen and Berke have written together.
"It seems that the Democrats are empowered to persecute before Mueller's report is straight," Collins said.
Associated Press author Eric Tucker contributed to this report.