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115th Congress    {                                  }         Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      {                                  }          115-28

======================================================================

 
   RESOLUTION OF INQUIRY DIRECTING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO TRANSMIT 
   CERTAIN DOCUMENTS TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RELATING TO THE 
                  FINANCIAL PRACTICES OF THE PRESIDENT

                                _______
                                

   March 8, 2017.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Goodlatte, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                             ADVERSE REPORT

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                       [To accompany H. Res. 111]

                  [Including Committee Cost Estimate]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
resolution (H. Res. 111) of inquiry directing the Attorney 
General to transmit certain documents to the House of 
Representatives relating to the financial practices of the 
President, having considered the same, reports unfavorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommends that the resolution 
not be agreed to.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

The Amendment....................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     5
Committee Consideration..........................................     5
Committee Votes..................................................     5
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     8
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     9
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     9
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     9
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     9
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     9
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     9
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     9
Dissenting Views.................................................     9

                          
                          
 96-008                         
                          
                          
                          
                          
                          
                          The Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the resolving clause and insert the 
following:

  That the Attorney General of the United States is directed to 
transmit, to the extent that such information is in the possession of 
the Attorney General, (in a manner appropriate to classified 
information, if the Attorney General determines appropriate) to the 
House of Representatives, not later than 14 days after the date of the 
adoption of this resolution, copies of any document, record, memo, 
correspondence, or other communication of the Department of Justice, 
including the Office of Legal Counsel, or any portion of any such 
communication, that refers or relates to--
          (1) any criminal or counterintelligence investigation 
        targeting President Donald J. Trump, National Security Advisor 
        Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Roger Stone, or any 
        employee of the Executive Office of the President;
          (2) any investment by any foreign government or agent of a 
        foreign government in any entity owned in whole or in part by 
        President Donald J. Trump;
          (3) President Trump's proposal to maintain an interest in his 
        business holdings, while turning over day-to-day operation of 
        those interests to his sons Donald J. Trump, Jr., and Eric 
        Trump;
          (4) President Trump's plan to donate the profits of any 
        foreign governments' use of his hotels to the United States 
        Treasury, including the decision to exclude other payments by 
        foreign governments to any other business holdings of the Trump 
        Organization from that arrangement;
          (5) the Foreign Emoluments Clause (U.S. Const. art. I, 
        Sec. 9, cl. 8) as it may pertain to President Donald J. Trump 
        or any employee of the Executive Office of the President; and
          (6) any of the following Federal statutes governing conflicts 
        of interest as they may pertain to President Donald J. Trump or 
        any employee of the Executive Office of the President:
                  (A) The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. 
                app. 101 et seq.).
                  (B) Section 3110 of title 5, United States Code 
                (concerning employment of relatives).
                  (C) Section 7342 of title 5, United States Code 
                (concerning receipt and disposition of foreign gifts).
                  (D) Section 7353 of title 5, United States Code 
                (concerning gifts to federal employees).
                  (E) Section 201 of title 18, United States Code 
                (prohibiting bribery of public officials).
                  (F) Section 208 of title 18, United States Code 
                (prohibiting participation by government officials in 
                matters affecting their personal financial interest).
                  (G) Section 211 of title 18, United States Code 
                (prohibiting acceptance or solicitation to obtain 
                appointive public office).
                  (H) Section 219 of title 18, United States Code 
                (prohibiting federal officers and employees from acting 
                as agents of foreign principals).
                  (I) Section 1905 of title 18, United States Code 
                (prohibiting disclosure of confidential information).

                          Purpose and Summary

    On February 9, 2017, Representative Nadler introduced H. 
Res. 111, a non-binding resolution of inquiry requesting that 
the Attorney General of the United States transmit certain 
documents to the House of Representatives related to the 
financial practices and other alleged activities of the 
President.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Resolutions of inquiry, if properly drafted, are given 
privileged parliamentary status in the House. This means that, 
under certain circumstances, a resolution of inquiry can be 
considered on the House floor even if the committee to which it 
was referred has not ordered the resolution reported and the 
majority party's leadership has not scheduled it for 
consideration. Clause 7 of Rule XIII of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives requires the committee to which the 
resolution is referred to act on the resolution within 14 
legislative days, or a motion to discharge the committee from 
consideration is considered privileged on the floor of the 
House. In calculating the days available for committee 
consideration, the day of introduction and the day of discharge 
are not counted.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Wm. Holmes Brown, et al., House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, 
Precedents, and Procedures of the House ch. 49, Sec. 6, p. 834 (2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Under the Rules and precedents of the House, a resolution 
of inquiry is a means by which the House requests information 
from the President of the United States or the head of one of 
the executive departments. According to Deschler's Precedents, 
it is a ``simple resolution making a direct request or demand 
of the President or the head of an executive department to 
furnish the House of Representatives with specific factual 
information in the possession of the executive branch.''\2\ 
Such resolutions must ask for facts, documents, or specific 
information; they may not be used to request an opinion or 
require an investigation.\3\ Resolutions of inquiry are not 
akin to subpoenas; they have no legal force and thus compliance 
by the Executive Branch with the House's request for 
information is purely voluntary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\7 Deschler's Precedents of the United States House of 
Representatives, H. Doc. No. 94-661, 94th Cong., 2d Sess., ch. 24, 
Sec. 8.
    \3\A resolution that seeks more than factual information does not 
enjoy privileged status. Brown, supra note 1, at 833-34.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to a study conducted by the Congressional 
Research Service (CRS), between 1947 and 2011, 290 resolutions 
of inquiry were introduced in the House.\4\ Within this period, 
CRS found that ``two periods in particular, 1971-1975 and 2003-
2006, saw the highest levels of activity on resolutions of 
inquiry'' and that the ``Committees on Armed Services, Foreign 
Affairs, and the Judiciary have received the largest share of 
references.''\5\ CRS further found that ``in recent Congresses, 
such resolutions have overwhelmingly become a tool of the 
minority party in the House.''\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Christopher M. Davis, Congressional Research Service, 
Resolutions of Inquiry: An Analysis of Their Use in the House, 1947-
2011 at i (2012).
    \5\Id.
    \6\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A Committee has a number of choices after a resolution of 
inquiry is referred to it. It may vote on the resolution up or 
down as introduced or it may amend it, and it may report the 
resolution favorably, unfavorably, or with no recommendation. 
The fact that a committee reports a resolution of inquiry 
adversely does not necessarily mean that the committee opposes 
looking into the matter. In the past, resolutions of inquiry 
have frequently been reported adversely for several reasons.
    H. Res. 111 was introduced on February 9, 2017, by 
Representative Nadler. It requests that the Attorney General 
transmit documents to the House related to the financial 
practices of, and other unsubstantiated allegations regarding, 
the President. Pursuant to Rule XIII, the Judiciary Committee 
was required to act on the resolution within 14 legislative 
days of February 9th or the Committee could have been 
discharged from its referral of the resolution. Accordingly, 
the Committee scheduled the resolution for markup February 28, 
2017--the Committee's last scheduled markup within the 14-day 
window--in order to preserve the Committee's referral.
    By scheduling the resolution for consideration in 
committee, the Committee simply followed what has been the 
practice in the House for the last 30 years regardless of which 
party has been in control. Indeed, over the last 30 years, 71 
resolutions of inquiry have been introduced in the House.\7\ Of 
those 71, only two were considered on the House floor, but even 
those two resolutions were marked up in committee.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Id. at 13.
    \8\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee reported this resolution of inquiry 
unfavorably to the House, because the resolution is 
unnecessary, premature, and not the best way for the Committee 
or the House to conduct oversight over the issues covered by 
the resolution.
    At the Committee's February 15, 2017, markup, the Committee 
adopted its oversight plan. In that plan, the Committee stated 
that it will ``conduct oversight into allegations of misconduct 
by Executive Branch officials [and] continue to conduct 
oversight into allegations of leaks of classified information 
as well as allegations of improper interference with our 
democratic institutions or efforts to improperly or illegally 
interfere with our elections.''\9\ The Committee also pledged 
to ``investigate any threat to independence or efficacy of the 
Office of Government Ethics.''\10\ In other words, the 
Committee has committed itself to conduct robust and thorough 
oversight of the Executive Branch.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Committee on the Judiciary Authorization and Oversight Plan for 
the 115th Congress (February 15, 2017).
    \10\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In fact, the Committee has already taken action to address 
some of the issues raised in the resolution. For instance, 
Chairman Goodlatte and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman 
Chaffetz have asked the Justice Department's Inspector General 
to examine allegations of mishandling of classified 
information.\11\ In addition, Chairman Goodlatte has asked the 
Justice Department to brief the Committee regarding Russia's 
alleged interference in the U.S. election and any potential 
ties to President Trump's campaign. The Committee has also sent 
a letter to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation 
requesting that the FBI proceed with investigations into any 
criminal conduct regarding these matters.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\This mishandling of classified information may be in violation 
of the Espionage Act of 1917, which criminalizes communicating or 
transmitting ``information relating to the national defense which . . . 
the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the 
United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation,'' or a number 
of other Federal statutes. The leaking of intelligence information for 
political purposes represents a grotesque breach of the trust the 
American people put in their intelligence agencies and it deserves a 
robust response.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moreover, it is the Committee's understanding that there is 
already an investigation underway by U.S. counterintelligence 
agencies into possible ties between the Russian government and 
associates of the President. Despite these facts, and the 
ongoing nature of these investigations, Democratic Members of 
Congress and the media continue to press for premature, broad-
sweeping action, based largely on unfounded allegations.
    The Judiciary Committee strongly believes that these 
ongoing investigations by the Legislative and Executive 
Branches should be allowed to proceed, as warranted, without 
outside interference. If criminal activity is discovered, it 
should be investigated and prosecuted with the utmost rigor of 
the law. However, contrary to the intent of this resolution of 
inquiry, this Committee has long recognized that the FBI and 
the Justice Department generally do not confirm or deny the 
existence of an investigation and do not comment on ongoing 
investigations. Indeed, this Committee did not weigh in 
substantively on the FBI investigation of former Secretary 
Hillary Clinton until after FBI Director Comey announced his 
findings. In the present situation, it is not even clear what 
crimes have allegedly been committed. Rather, much of the basis 
of this resolution of inquiry seems to be little more than a 
politically-calculated, fishing expedition designed to 
delegitimize the President, who has been in office for all of 5 
weeks.
    Furthermore, to be clear, this resolution would have no 
effect at all on the Attorney General's obligation to produce 
documents to Congress. Resolutions of inquiry are not 
subpoenas--they have no legal force or effect. Rather, this 
resolution of inquiry if acted upon by the House would have no 
greater legal force than sending the Attorney General a letter 
requesting this information. This resolution is about politics, 
not information. It is part of a concerted attempt to 
delegitimize the President. This Committee's oversight efforts 
can, and should, be better than that.
    The Judiciary Committee will investigate any credible 
allegations of misconduct by the Executive Branch to the extent 
such allegations fall within this Committee's jurisdiction. 
However, the Committee will not do so through politically-
charged resolutions of inquiry that could jeopardize the 
integrity of the very investigations the resolution 
presupposes.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H. Res. 
111.

                        Committee Consideration

    On February 28, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered H. Res. 111 unfavorably reported, with an amendment, by 
a rollcall vote of 18 to 16, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
following rollcall votes occurred during the Committee's 
consideration of H. Res. 111.
    1. Amendment #1, offered by Mr. Deutch, to expand the scope 
of the resolution of inquiry to include applicable 
communications between employees in the Executive Office of the 
President and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The 
amendment was defeated by a rollcall vote of 15 to 18.

                             ROLLCALL NO. 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Ayes    Nays   Present
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Goodlatte (VA), Chairman...................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI)....................
Mr. Smith (TX).................................              X
Mr. Chabot (OH)................................              X
Mr. Issa (CA)..................................              X
Mr. King (IA)..................................              X
Mr. Franks (AZ)................................              X
Mr. Gohmert (TX)...............................
Mr. Jordan (OH)................................              X
Mr. Poe (TX)...................................              X
Mr. Chaffetz (UT)..............................              X
Mr. Marino (PA)................................              X
Mr. Gowdy (SC).................................              X
Mr. Labrador (ID)..............................              X
Mr. Farenthold (TX)............................              X
Mr. Collins (GA)...............................
Mr. DeSantis (FL)..............................              X
Mr. Buck (CO)..................................
Mr. Ratcliffe (TX).............................              X
Ms. Roby (AL)..................................              X
Mr. Gaetz (FL).................................
Mr. Johnson (LA)...............................              X
Mr. Biggs (AZ).................................              X
 
Mr. Conyers, Jr. (MI), Ranking Member..........      X
Mr. Nadler (NY)................................      X
Ms. Lofgren (CA)...............................      X
Ms. Jackson Lee (TX)...........................      X
Mr. Cohen (TN).................................      X
Mr. Johnson (GA)...............................      X
Mr. Deutch (FL)................................      X
Mr. Gutierrez (IL).............................      X
Ms. Bass (CA)..................................
Mr. Richmond (LA)..............................
Mr. Jeffries (NY)..............................      X
Mr. Cicilline (RI).............................      X
Mr. Swalwell (CA)..............................      X
Mr. Lieu (CA)..................................      X
Mr. Raskin (MD)................................      X
Ms. Jayapal (WA)...............................      X
Mr. Schneider (IL).............................      X
                                                ------------------------
    Total......................................     15      18
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    2. Amendment #2, offered by Mr. Jeffries, to expand the 
scope of the resolution of inquiry to include information 
regarding disqualification arising from personal or political 
relationships as set forth in 28 CFR Sec. 45.2. The amendment 
was defeated by a rollcall vote of 15 to 16.

                             ROLLCALL NO. 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Ayes    Nays   Present
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Goodlatte (VA), Chairman...................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI)....................
Mr. Smith (TX).................................              X
Mr. Chabot (OH)................................
Mr. Issa (CA)..................................              X
Mr. King (IA)..................................              X
Mr. Franks (AZ)................................              X
Mr. Gohmert (TX)...............................
Mr. Jordan (OH)................................              X
Mr. Poe (TX)...................................              X
Mr. Chaffetz (UT)..............................              X
Mr. Marino (PA)................................              X
Mr. Gowdy (SC).................................              X
Mr. Labrador (ID)..............................              X
Mr. Farenthold (TX)............................              X
Mr. Collins (GA)...............................
Mr. DeSantis (FL)..............................
Mr. Buck (CO)..................................
Mr. Ratcliffe (TX).............................              X
Ms. Roby (AL)..................................              X
Mr. Gaetz (FL).................................              X
Mr. Johnson (LA)...............................
Mr. Biggs (AZ).................................              X
 
Mr. Conyers, Jr. (MI), Ranking Member..........      X
Mr. Nadler (NY)................................      X
Ms. Lofgren (CA)...............................      X
Ms. Jackson Lee (TX)...........................      X
Mr. Cohen (TN).................................      X
Mr. Johnson (GA)...............................      X
Mr. Deutch (FL)................................      X
Mr. Gutierrez (IL).............................      X
Ms. Bass (CA)..................................
Mr. Richmond (LA)..............................
Mr. Jeffries (NY)..............................      X
Mr. Cicilline (RI).............................      X
Mr. Swalwell (CA)..............................      X
Mr. Lieu (CA)..................................      X
Mr. Raskin (MD)................................      X
Ms. Jayapal (WA)...............................      X
Mr. Schneider (IL).............................      X
                                                ------------------------
    Total......................................     15      16
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    3. Motion to report H. Res. 111 unfavorably to the House. 
Approved 18 to 16.

                             ROLLCALL NO. 3
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Ayes    Nays   Present
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Goodlatte (VA), Chairman...................      X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI)....................      X
Mr. Smith (TX).................................      X
Mr. Chabot (OH)................................      X
Mr. Issa (CA)..................................      X
Mr. King (IA)..................................      X
Mr. Franks (AZ)................................      X
Mr. Gohmert (TX)...............................
Mr. Jordan (OH)................................      X
Mr. Poe (TX)...................................      X
Mr. Chaffetz (UT)..............................      X
Mr. Marino (PA)................................      X
Mr. Gowdy (SC).................................      X
Mr. Labrador (ID)..............................      X
Mr. Farenthold (TX)............................      X
Mr. Collins (GA)...............................
Mr. DeSantis (FL)..............................
Mr. Buck (CO)..................................
Mr. Ratcliffe (TX).............................      X
Ms. Roby (AL)..................................      X
Mr. Gaetz (FL).................................      X
Mr. Johnson (LA)...............................
Mr. Biggs (AZ).................................      X
 
Mr. Conyers, Jr. (MI), Ranking Member..........              X
Mr. Nadler (NY)................................              X
Ms. Lofgren (CA)...............................              X
Ms. Jackson Lee (TX)...........................              X
Mr. Cohen (TN).................................              X
Mr. Johnson (GA)...............................              X
Mr. Deutch (FL)................................              X
Mr. Gutierrez (IL).............................              X
Ms. Bass (CA)..................................              X
Mr. Richmond (LA)..............................
Mr. Jeffries (NY)..............................              X
Mr. Cicilline (RI).............................              X
Mr. Swalwell (CA)..............................              X
Mr. Lieu (CA)..................................              X
Mr. Raskin (MD)................................              X
Ms. Jayapal (WA)...............................              X
Mr. Schneider (IL).............................              X
                                                ------------------------
    Total......................................     18      16
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this resolution does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(d) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee estimates that 
implementing this non-binding resolution would not result in 
any significant costs. The Congressional Budget Office did not 
provide a cost estimate for the resolution.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H. Res. 111 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that H. Res. 111 specifically 
directs to be completed no specific rule makings within the 
meaning of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 551.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H. Res. 
111 requests that the Attorney General transmit certain 
documents to the House of Representatives relating to the 
financial practices and other alleged activities of the 
President.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 111 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the resolution as 
reported by the Committee.
    H. Res. 111, a non-binding resolution of inquiry, directs 
the Attorney General of the United States to transmit certain 
documents and communications to the House of Representatives 
related to the the President.

                            Dissenting Views

    To date, the Majority refuses to conduct even basic 
oversight on President Donald J. Trump's pervasive conflicts of 
interest, or to examine extensive and apparently ongoing ties 
between the Russian government and the President's advisers. H. 
Res. 111 directs the Attorney General to provide the House of 
Representatives with information related to these matters so 
that interested Members can conduct their official 
responsibilities even if the Majority will not. By rejecting 
this resolution, the Majority has abdicated its responsibility 
to ensure that the White House is not beholden to private 
interests or a foreign adversary.

                         I. GENERAL BACKGROUND

    Under the rules and precedents of the House, a resolution 
of inquiry is used to obtain information from the executive 
branch. A resolution of inquiry is directed at the President of 
the United States or the head of a Cabinet-level agency, 
requesting facts within the control of the executive branch.\1\ 
As a ``simple resolution,'' designated by ``H. Res.,'' a 
resolution of inquiry does not carry the force of law. 
``Compliance by the executive branch with the House's request 
is voluntary, resting largely on a sense of comity between co-
equal branches of government and a recognition of the necessity 
for Congress to be well-informed as it legislates.''\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Christopher M. Davis, Resolutions of Inquiry: An Analysis of 
Their Use in the House, 1947-2011, Cong. Research Service, May 15, 2012 
(R40879).
    \2\Id. at 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    House Rules afford resolutions of inquiry a privileged 
parliamentary status. A Member files a resolution of inquiry 
like any other legislation. The resolution is then referred to 
the proper committee of jurisdiction. If the committee does not 
report the resolution to the House within 14 legislative days 
of its introduction, however, a motion to discharge the 
resolution from committee can be made on the House floor.\3\ In 
practice, even when the Majority opposes a resolution of 
inquiry, a committee may mark it up and report it--perhaps 
adversely--to prevent its sponsor from making a privileged 
motion to call up the legislation on the House floor.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\House Rule XIII, clause 7.
    \4\Davis, supra note 1, at 1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

           II. SECTION-BY-SECTION EXPLANATION OF H. RES. 111

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced H. Res. 111 on 
February 9, 2017. The resolution directs the Attorney General 
to transmit to the House, not later than 14 days after 
enactment of the resolution, copies of any document, record, 
memo, correspondence, or other communication of the Department 
of Justice, including the Office of Legal Counsel, that refers 
or relates to:

        (1) LAny criminal or counterintelligence investigation 
        targeting President Trump, former National Security 
        Advisor Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, 
        Roger Stone, or any employee of the Executive Office of 
        the President;

        (2) LAny investment by any foreign government or agent 
        of a foreign government in any entity owned in whole or 
        in part by President Trump;

        (3) LPresident Trump's proposal to maintain an interest 
        in his business holdings, while turning over day-to-day 
        operation of those interests to his sons Donald J. 
        Trump, Jr., and Eric Trump;

        (4) LPresident Trump's plan to donate the profits of 
        any foreign governments' use of his hotels to the 
        United States Treasury, including the decision to 
        exclude other payments by foreign governments to any 
        other business holdings of the Trump Organization from 
        that arrangement;

        (5) LThe Foreign Emoluments Clause of the U.S. 
        Constitution, as it may pertain to President Trump or 
        any employee of the Executive Office of the President; 
        and

        (6) LAny of several Federal statutes governing 
        conflicts of interest as they may pertain to President 
        Trump or any employee of the Executive Office of the 
        President.

    H. Res. 111 expressly permits the Attorney General to 
transmit this information in a classified format if necessary.

                     III. NEED FOR THE LEGISLATION

    H. Res. 111 is a simple request for information from the 
Department of Justice. By its nature, a resolution of inquiry 
cannot draw conclusions about the Trump Administration. It can 
only help the House of Representatives to obtain documents, 
correspondence, and other communications related to matters 
properly within the purview of our constitutional mandate to 
exercise oversight of the executive branch.
    Two areas of concern merit immediate investigation by the 
Committee. First, President Trump and some of his closest 
associates are tangled in a bizarre set of relationships with 
the Russian government. Second, President Trump has failed to 
remove himself from his business interests in any meaningful 
way, likely subjecting himself to liability under a long list 
of Federal statutes and the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the 
Constitution. H. Res. 111 would have helped the Committee to 
begin its investigation of these matters.
    As Rep. Nadler stated to the Committee: ``It is unfortunate 
that we must resort to a resolution of inquiry to learn the 
truth about these serious issues; however, the House has, so 
far, abnegated its constitutional responsibility to provide 
meaningful oversight to the Trump administration, and it is 
time we do our duty.''\5\ By voting to report the resolution 
unfavorably, the Majority has refused to conduct meaningful 
oversight of President Trump.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Unofficial Tr. of Markup of H.R. 372; H.R. 1215; and H. Res. 111 
before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 115th Cong. (Feb. 28, 2017) 
(statement of Rep. Jerrold Nadler) [hereinafter Markup Tr.].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
A. LPresident Trump's connections to the Russian government merit 
        immediate investigation.
    H. Res. 111 directs the Attorney General to transmit to the 
House information related to ``any criminal or 
counterintelligence investigation targeting President Donald J. 
Trump, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, 
Carter Page, Roger Stone, or any employee of the Executive 
Office of the President.'' The resolution also asks for any 
information the Department of Justice has related to ``any 
investment by any foreign government or agent of a foreign 
government in any entity owned in whole or in part by President 
Donald J. Trump.'' These two lines of inquiry are designed to 
help Members further examine one of the more troubling aspects 
of the Trump Administration: the persistent and pervasive 
connections between President Trump and the government of 
Vladimir Putin.
    1. LTrump campaign advisers had repeated contact with Russia--and 
        denied it until they got caught.
    It has been extensively reported that, in the months 
leading up to the recent election, senior Russian officials 
authorized ``compromises of emails from U.S. persons and 
institutions,'' including the Democratic National Committee.\6\ 
The intelligence community has since reached the unanimous 
conclusion that these actions were part of a massive effort to 
influence the election on behalf of President Trump.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Press Release, Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland 
Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on 
Election Security, Dept. of Homeland Security, Oct. 7, 2016.
    \7\Background to ``Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in 
Recent US Elections'': The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident 
Attribution, Office of the Director of Nat'l. Intelligence, Jan. 6, 
2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During markup, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suggested that 
Members should discount this unanimous conclusion because it 
was reached by ``the Obama intelligence community.''\8\ We note 
only that President Trump has been in office since January 20, 
2017, and that not one of the intelligence community components 
that took part in the initial review has since retracted, 
amended, or otherwise conditioned its assessment of the 
evidence.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Markup Tr. (statement of Rep. Steve King).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It has also been reported that senior members of President 
Trump's presidential campaign have had repeated contacts with 
the Russian government.\9\ On December 29, 2016, the same day 
that President Obama imposed sanctions on certain Russian 
officials in response to Russian interference in the 
presidential campaign, former National Security Advisor Michael 
Flynn spoke with the Russian ambassador to the United States 
about lifting those sanctions once Mr. Trump took office.\10\ 
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates advised the White House of 
the content of these conversations before leaving office in 
January 2017.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Michael S. Schmidt et al., Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated 
Contacts with Russian Intelligence, N.Y. Times, Feb. 14, 2017.
    \10\Adam Entous et al., Justice Department warned White House that 
Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, officials say, Wash. 
Post, Feb. 13, 2017.
    \11\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In public--and apparently also in private conversations 
with Vice President Mike Pence--Mr. Flynn flatly denied having 
any such discussions. On February 9, 2017, The Washington Post 
reported that Mr. Flynn had, in fact, discussed lifting 
sanctions in his conversations with the Russian ambassador.\12\ 
Three weeks after the White House learned of this duplicity, 
Mr. Flynn resigned.\13\ His 24-day tenure as National Security 
Adviser is the shortest in the history of the office.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Greg Miller et al., National security adviser Flynn discussed 
sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say, 
Wash. Post, Feb. 9, 2017.
    \13\Maggie Haberman et al., Michael Flynn Resigns as National 
Security Adviser, N.Y. Times, Feb. 13, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In a separate matter, the Army is investigating whether Mr. 
Flynn received money from the Russian government during a trip 
he took to Moscow in 2015. That payment might violate the 
Foreign Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which 
prohibits retired military officers from receiving payments 
from a foreign government.\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\Id.; see also letter from Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, H. 
Comm. on Oversight and Gov't. Reform, et al., to Secretary of Defense 
James Mattis, Feb. 1, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort once worked as 
a pro-Kremlin political consultant in Ukraine.\15\ He 
reportedly oversaw the softening of the Republican National 
Committee's platform on Russia.\16\ While working for the Trump 
campaign, he appears to have been the target of a blackmail 
attempt by a Ukrainian politician--who claimed to have 
``bulletproof'' evidence related to certain financial 
arrangements between Mr. Manafort and Ukraine's former 
president, pro-Russian strongman Viktor Yanukovych.\17\ The FBI 
has been investigating his business dealings in Russia and 
Ukraine for some time.\18\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\Amber Philips, Paul Manafort's complicated ties to Ukraine, 
explained, Wash. Post, Aug. 19, 2016.
    \16\Josh Rogin, Trump campaign guts GOP's anti-Russia stance on 
Ukraine, Wash. Post, July 18, 2016.
    \17\Kenneth P. Vogel et al., Manafort faced blackmail attempt, 
hacks suggest, Politico, Feb. 23, 2016.
    \18\Ken Dilanian et al., FBI Making Inquiry into Ex-Trump Campaign 
Manager's Foreign Ties, NBC News, Nov. 1, 2016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to reports, the FBI has also questioned Carter 
Page, a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, for his 
frequent trips to Moscow and alleged contacts with Russian 
officials subject to U.S. sanctions.\19\ In an interview on 
February 15, 2017, Mr. Page claimed that he had participated in 
``no meetings'' with Russian officials in the past year.\20\ On 
March 2, 2017, USA Today reported that both Mr. Page and J.D. 
Gordon, director of the national security advisory committee 
for the Trump campaign, met with the Russian ambassador at the 
Republican National Convention in July 2016.\21\ Mr. Page 
admitted his earlier misstatement in an interview broadcast 
later that evening.\22\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \19\Michael Isikoff, U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump 
advisor and Kremlin, Yahoo! News, Sept. 24, 2016.
    \20\Former Trump adviser says he had no Russian meetings in the 
past year, PBS News Hour, Feb. 15, 2017.
    \21\Steve Reilly, Exclusive: Two other Trump advisers also spoke 
with Russian envoy during GOP convention, USA Today, Mar. 2, 2017.
    \22\``I am not going to do deny that I talked him. I will say I 
never met him anywhere outside of Cleveland.'' All in with Chris Hayes, 
MSNBC, broadcast Mar. 2, 2017 (interview with Carter Page).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone has also been swept into 
these investigations.\23\ During the campaign, he bragged about 
``back-channel'' communications with WikiLeaks and appeared to 
know that WikiLeaks would publish emails from Clinton campaign 
chairman John Podesta--emails exfiltrated from the Democratic 
National Committee by Russian state actors--months before those 
emails became public.\24\ On March 4, 2017, Mr. Stone again 
claimed a ``perfectly legal back channel'' to WikiLeaks founder 
Julian Assange--and then deleted the statement from 
Twitter.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \23\Michael S. Schmidt, Intercepted Russian Communications Part of 
Inquiry into Trump Associates, N.Y. Times, Jan. 29, 2017.
    \24\Alexa Ard, Donald Trump ally Roger Stone admits ``back-
channel'' tie to WikiLeaks, McClatchy, Oct. 12, 2016.
    \25\Marina Fang, Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone Admits Collusion 
with WikiLeaks, Then Deletes It, Huffington Post, Mar. 5, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of the earliest 
elected officials to support the candidacy of President Trump. 
For months, Democrats and Republicans alike have called for his 
recusal from any pending investigation of the Trump 
Administration's ties to the Russian government.\26\ At the 
markup of H. Res. 111, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) offered an 
amendment that would have directed the Department of Justice to 
turn over information related to the regulations governing when 
it is appropriate for the Attorney General to recuse 
himself.\27\ Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) spoke in opposition 
to the amendment, arguing that ``this is based on nothing more 
than a supposition that there may be something improper there, 
which could be used to damage the administration 
politically.''\28\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \26\See, e.g., Melanie Mason, GOP Rep. Darrell Issa tells Bill 
Maher a special prosecutor should investigate Russian election 
interference, L.A. Times, Feb. 24, 2017.
    \27\See 28 C.F.R. Sec. 45.2.
    \28\Markup Tr. (statement of Chairman Bob Goodlatte).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One day later, The Washington Post reported that then-
Senator Jeff Sessions ``spoke twice last year with Russia's 
ambassador to the United States, . . . encounters he did not 
disclose when asked about possible contacts between members of 
President Trump's campaign and representatives of Moscow'' 
during his confirmation hearings.\29\ One day after that, 
Attorney General Sessions recused himself from ``any existing 
or future investigation involving President Trump's 2016 
campaign.''\30\ The scope of that recusal may or may not be 
sufficient to address the Attorney General's personal and 
political ties to the Trump campaign--but the amendment offered 
by Rep. Jeffries was clearly based on more than just a 
``supposition.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \29\Adam Entous et al., Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last 
year, encounters he later did not disclose, Wash. Post, Mar. 1, 2017.
    \30\Karoun Demirjian et al., Attorney General Jeff Sessions will 
recuse himself from any probe related to 2016 presidential campaign, 
Wash. Post, Mar. 2, 2016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2. LContacts with the Russian government still preoccupy the White 
        House.
    Although some of the Trump advisers named in H. Res. 111 
have been at least temporarily removed from the President's 
immediate orbit, the Administration's relationships with the 
Russian government still preoccupy the White House. For 
example, Michael D. Cohen, President Trump's private attorney, 
and Felix Sater, a business associate of the President, are 
working to bring ``peace'' to Ukraine through a Ukrainian 
lawmaker associated with former campaign manager Paul 
Manafort.\31\ The peace plan, which Mr. Cohen reportedly hand-
delivered to Michael Flynn in the days before his resignation, 
appears to turn on lifting sanctions on the Russian government 
and recognizing Crimea as part of Russia--both to the obvious 
gain of Vladimir Putin.\32\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \31\Megan Twohey & Scott Shane, A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and 
Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates, N.Y. Times, Feb. 19, 2017.
    \32\Julia Ioffe, The Mystery of the Ukraine Peace Plan, The 
Atlantic, Feb. 20, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The White House is apparently uncomfortable with reports of 
this nature becoming public. On February 14, 2017, The New York 
Times reported that Trump campaign aides ``had repeated 
contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year 
before the election.''\33\ White House Chief of Staff Reince 
Priebus then called FBI Director James Comey and FBI Deputy 
Director Andrew McCabe to ask the Bureau to dispute the 
report.\34\ Director Comey rejected that request, ``because the 
alleged communications between Trump associates and Russians 
known to US intelligence are the subject of an ongoing 
investigation.''\35\ It also appears that White House Press 
Secretary Sean Spicer asked both Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), 
Chair of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and Rep. 
Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chair of the House Permanent Select 
Committee on Intelligence, to discredit these reports.\36\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \33\Michael S. Schmidt et al., Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated 
Contacts with Russian Intelligence, N.Y. Times, Feb. 14, 2017.
    \34\Jim Sciutto et al., FBI refused White House request to knock 
down recent Trump-Russia stories, CNN, Feb. 24, 2017.
    \35\Id.
    \36\Mike Allen, Exclusive: Spicer arranged CIA, GOP intelligence 
push-back, Axios, Feb. 27, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At the markup of H. Res. 111, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) 
offered an amendment that would have directed the Department of 
Justice to transmit information related to such communications 
between the White House and the FBI. Every Department of 
Justice since the Carter Administration has had guidelines in 
place to restrict communications between the White House and 
career investigators and prosecutors, ``to insure, to the 
extent possible, that improper considerations will not enter 
into our legal judgments.''\37\ Rep. Deutch's amendment makes 
explicit reference to the standing guidance on this topic, 
issued on May 11, 2009.\38\ The sitting Attorney General is 
free to revise or replace this guidance--but Attorney General 
Sessions has not yet done so.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \37\Remarks by the Hon. Griffin B. Bell, Attorney General of the 
United States, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 6, 1978.
    \38\See Memorandum from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, 
Communications with the White House and Congress, U.S. Dept. of 
Justice, May 11, 2009.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The 2009 memorandum states: ``The Justice Department will 
advise the White House concerning any pending or contemplated 
criminal or civil investigations on cases when, but only when, 
it is important for the performance of the President's duties 
and appropriate from a law enforcement perspective.''\39\ 
Communications between the White House Chief of Staff and the 
FBI about a pending investigation are clearly covered by this 
guidance. Communications between the White House Chief of Staff 
and the FBI about a pending investigation targeted at 
associates of the President are inappropriate in almost any 
circumstance.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \39\Id. (emphasis added).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Speaking in opposition to Rep. Deutch's amendment, Chairman 
Goodlatte argued that the amendment merely attempts to cast 
``an even wider net in hopes of discovering illicit 
activity.''\40\ But Rep. Deutch's amendment was a response to 
illicit activity--and to behavior that the Majority continues 
to ignore. By rejecting this measure, the Majority joins 
Attorney General Sessions in refusing to take action to 
preserve the independence and integrity of the Department of 
Justice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \40\Markup Tr. (statement of Chairman Bob Goodlatte).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    3. LPresident Trump appears to have direct and personal connections 
        to the regime of Vladimir Putin.
    Although President Trump denies having any business 
dealings in Russia, multiple news outlets have reported that he 
``sought and received funding from Russian investors for his 
business ventures, especially after most American banks stopped 
lending to him following his multiple bankruptcies.''\41\ Prior 
to his election, the President boasted about meeting with 
Russian financiers close to Vladimir Putin--stating after one 
trip to Moscow, ``I have a great relationship with many 
Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the 
room.''\42\ Donald Trump, Jr., who now runs day-to-day business 
operations for his father's companies, has discussed the 
organization's reliance on this source of funding: ``Russians 
make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our 
assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.''\43\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \41\Max Boot, Trump's Opposition Research Firm: Russia's 
Intelligence Agencies, L.A. Times, July 25, 2016.
    \42\Jeff Nesbit, Donald Trump's Many, Many, Many, Many Ties to 
Russia, Time, Aug. 2, 2016.
    \43\Executive Talk: Donald Trump Jr. Bullish on Russia and Few 
Emerging Markets, eTurboNews, Sept. 15, 2016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Throughout the campaign and into his first month of office, 
President Trump has sought to downplay Russian aggression and 
praise Vladimir Putin. For months, even after repeated 
briefings on the subject, the President denied that Russia had 
attempted to hack the Democratic National Committee or 
influence the election:

        I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke 
        into the DNC. [Clinton is] saying Russia, Russia, 
        Russia, but I don't--maybe it was. I mean, it could be 
        Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be 
        lots of other people. It could also be somebody sitting 
        on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay?\44\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \44\Aaron Blake, The first Trump-Clinton presidential debate 
transcript, annotated, Wash. Post, Sept. 26, 2016.

In a December 2015 interview with talk show host Joe 
Scarborough, he defended Putin's killing of dissident 
journalists: ``at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in 
this country.''\45\ Asked a similar question by talk show host 
Bill O'Reilly in 2017, the President responded: ``There are a 
lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our 
country is so innocent?''\46\ This odd predilection for the 
Russian autocrat is even more baffling given President Trump's 
willingness to antagonize longtime allies--like Mexico,\47\ 
Australia,\48\ and Sweden\49\--for little or no discernable 
reason.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \45\Morning Joe, MSNBC, broadcast Dec. 18, 2015.
    \46\Bill O'Reilly Interviews Trump before Super Bowl LI on FOX, 
FoxNews, broadcast Feb. 5, 2017.
    \47\Robin Abcarian, South of the border, Mexicans are puzzled by 
Trump's relentless and pointless antagonism, L.A. Times, Feb. 5, 2017.
    \48\Greg Miller & Philip Rucker, ``This was the worst call by 
far'': Trump badgered, bragged, and abruptly ended phone call with 
Australian leader, Wash. Post, Feb. 2, 2017.
    \49\Christina Anderson & Sewell Chan, Clashes in Stockholm Suburb 
Draw Attention to Trump's Remarks, N.Y. Times, Feb. 21, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The President's erratic statements, his foreign business 
interests, and his decision to surround himself with advisors 
who have come into repeated contact with the Russian government 
all warrant closer examination. H. Res. 111 would have enabled 
the Committee to begin its investigation of these matters in 
earnest. By rejecting the resolution, the Majority has 
abdicated its responsibility to ensure that the White House is 
not beholden to a foreign adversary.
B. LPresident Trump has failed to address his conflicts of interest.
    H. Res. 111 also directs the Attorney General to produce 
information related to President Trump's ongoing conflict-of-
interest problem. The legislation asks for documents and 
communications related to foreign investment in the President's 
business interests; his proposal to maintain a stake in his 
business holdings while turning over operation of the Trump 
Organization to his children; his plan to donate the profits of 
any foreign governments' use of his hotels to the United States 
Treasury, but not other payments he receives from foreign 
countries; and any discussion or analysis by the Department 
with respect to the Foreign Emoluments Clause or a long list of 
Federal ethics statutes.
    For months, President Trump has argued that ``the president 
can't have a conflict of interest.''\50\ Even when read in a 
favorable light, this claim is deeply inaccurate. It is true 
that Congress has exempted the President and the Vice President 
from one criminal statute that otherwise prohibits executive 
branch employees from working on matters in which they might 
have a financial interest.\51\ It is also true, however, that a 
long list of ethics and conflict-of-interest laws apply to the 
office of the President. The Congressional Research Service 
identified each of the statutes outlined in H. Res. 111 as 
conflict-of-interest rules that apply to President Trump.\52\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \50\Donald Trump's New York Times Interview: Full Transcript, N.Y. 
Times, Nov. 23, 2016.
    \51\18 U.S.C. Sec. 208 (2017).
    \52\Memorandum, Conflict of Interest and ``Ethics'' Provisions that 
May Apply to the President, Cong. Research Service, Nov. 22, 2016; see 
also Letter from Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, et al., to Chairman Bob Goodlatte, H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, Nov. 30, 2016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Even the mere appearance that the President bases his 
decisions on his own financial interest, rather than on the 
best interest of the nation, erodes the public's trust in 
government--whether or not the President's conduct is 
prohibited by statute. As then-Assistant Attorney General 
Antonin Scalia wrote for the Office of Legal Counsel in 1974, 
although certain ethics rules may not technically bind the 
White House, ``it would obviously be undesirable as a matter of 
policy for the President'' to engage in unethical conduct.\53\ 
He warned: ``Failure to observe these standards will furnish a 
simple basis for damaging criticism.''\54\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \53\Memorandum for Hon. Kenneth A. Lazarus, Assoc. Counsel to the 
President, Re: Applicability of 3 C.F.R. Part 100 to the President and 
Vice President, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Dec. 
19, 1974, at 3.
    \54\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At a January 2017 press conference, President Trump 
announced: ``I could actually run my business and run 
government at the same time . . . I would be the only one to be 
able to do that.''\55\ Nevertheless, the President has handed 
day-to-day operation of the Trump Organization over to his two 
adult sons, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump. To address 
concerns about foreign governments currying favor with the 
Administration by doing business with the Trump Organization, 
he plans to donate the profits from the use of his hotels by 
foreign dignitaries to the U.S. Treasury.\56\ A few days later, 
it was reported that President Trump resigned from the 
management of ``more than 400'' business entities.\57\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \55\Donald Trump's News Conference: Full Transcript and Video, N.Y. 
Times, Jan. 11, 2016.
    \56\Id.
    \57\Jill Disis et al., Trump Organization documents say he has 
resigned from more than 400 businesses, CNN MONEY, Jan. 23, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    These attempts to address the President's conflicts of 
interest are simply inadequate. They do nothing to change his 
financial interest in his businesses, to limit his ability to 
advise them, or to prevent other interests from currying favor 
with the White House by doing business with companies that 
might benefit the President's bottom line.
    We are not alone in reaching this conclusion. Richard 
Painter and Norman Eisen, former ethics counsels to Presidents 
George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively, describe the 
President's ethics plan as ``porous and insufficient.'' With 
respect to the plan to donate foreign profits from his hotels, 
they ask:

        [W]hy only hotels? What about foreign sovereign 
        payments to buy his condos or apartments, for use of 
        his office buildings or his golf courses, not to 
        mention his massive foreign government bank loans, and 
        other benefits? And why only profits, when the Justice 
        Department has long held that the emoluments clause 
        covers any revenue from foreign governments--not simply 
        profits?\58\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \58\Richard Painter & Norman Eisen, Just when you thought the Trump 
ethics disaster couldn't get worse, it did, Wash. Post, Jan. 16, 2017.

    Director Walter M. Shaub, Jr., head of the U.S. Office of 
Government Ethics, has expressed similar concerns. Evaluating 
President Trump's proposal to distance himself from his 
business holdings, Director Shaub concluded that ``the plan 
does not comport with the tradition of our Presidents over the 
past 40 years'' and risks ``creating the perception that 
government leaders would use their official positions for 
profit.''\59\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \59\Walter M. Shaub, Jr., Director, U.S. Office of Gov't. Ethics, 
Remarks at the Brookings Institution, Jan. 11, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Some in the Majority reacted poorly to this criticism. Rep. 
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chairman of the House Committee on 
Government and Oversight Reform, accused Director Shaub of 
``blurring the line between public relations and official 
ethics guidance,'' hinting at a congressional investigation 
into his conduct and threatening to shut down the Office of 
Government Ethics.\60\ White House chief of staff Reince 
Preibus later appeared on national television to warn Director 
Shaub to ``be careful'' with his comments.\61\ Director Shaub 
has served presidents of both parties with distinction for 
nearly twenty years. We ought to listen to his advice, not 
threaten his office or disparage his reputation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \60\Letter from Chairman Jason Chaffetz, H. Comm. on Oversight & 
Gov't. Reform, to Walter M. Shaub, Jr., Director, U.S. Office of Gov't. 
Ethics, Jan. 12, 2017.
    \61\This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC News, broadcast Jan. 
15, 2017 (remarks of Reince Priebus).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As Director Shaub and others have cautioned, President 
Trump's continued insistence that ethics norms and laws do not 
apply to his office presents a liability to the entire 
Administration. First among these laws is the Foreign 
Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the 
President from receiving anything of value from any foreign 
government without Congressional consent.\62\ The Foreign 
Emoluments Clause is a strict and absolute rule--it ``operates 
categorically, governing transactions even when they would not 
necessarily lead to corruption, and establishing a clear 
baseline of unacceptable conduct.''\63\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \62\See David J. Barron, Applicability of the Emoluments Clause and 
the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act to the President's Receipt of the 
Nobel Peace Prize, 33 Op. O.L.C. 1 (2009).
    \63\Norman L. Eisen et al., The Emoluments Clause: Its Text, 
Meaning, and Application to Donald J. Trump, Governance Studies at 
Brookings, Dec. 16, 2016, at 13.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Because he has failed to step away from his business 
holdings in any meaningful way, President Trump may have been 
in violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause from the moment 
he took his oath of office. For example, President Trump sought 
and received funding for his business from Russian 
financiers.\64\ This fact would be cause for concern in any 
respect, given the conclusion of the intelligence community 
that Russia worked to sway the recent election in President 
Trump's favor. If still ongoing, these financial ties also 
represent foreign emoluments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \64\Franklin Foer, Putin's Puppet, Slate, July 4, 2016; Tom 
Hamburger et al., Inside Trump's Financial Ties to Russia and His 
Unusual Flattery of Vladimir Putin, Wash. Post, June 17, 2016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China--which is owned 
by the People's Republic of China--is the largest tenant in 
Trump Tower.\65\ It is also a major lender to the Trump 
Organization. Its lease is slated to end in October 2019.\66\ 
The bank's rental payments, its ongoing extension of credit to 
the President's business, and any financial benefit that may 
accrue to President Trump during renegotiation of the lease 
also constitute foreign emoluments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \65\Caleb Melby et al., When Chinese Bank's Trump Lease Ends, 
Potential Conflict Begins, Forbes, Nov. 28, 2016.
    \66\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Foreign diplomats and other representatives of foreign 
governments have moved their business to the President's 
Washington, D.C. hotel.\67\ At least one report suggests that a 
foreign embassy was pressured to move their event to the Trump 
property.\68\ Even without an element of coercion, payments by 
foreign diplomats for lodging, meeting space, and food at the 
hotel are also emoluments received in violation of the 
Constitution.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \67\Jonathan O'Connell, Conservative groups, foreign leaders flock 
to Trump's D.C. hotel, Wash. Post, Dec. 7, 2016.
    \68\Paulina Firozi, Report: Embassy of Kuwait moves major event to 
Trump's DC hotel, The Hill, Dec. 12, 2016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the context of private business, these transactions may 
be entirely legitimate. For the President of the United States, 
however, they present an inescapable conflict of interest--
shading many of his decisions with questions about personal 
enrichment and foreign entanglement. This erosion of trust ``is 
exactly what the Emoluments Clause is meant to head off at the 
pass.''\69\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \69\Eisen, supra note 63.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Framers of the Constitution created an explicit role 
for Congress in the enforcement of the Foreign Emoluments 
Clause. Our Committee oversees the Ethics in Government Act, 
the Office of Government Ethics, and matters of criminal and 
constitutional law. It is our responsibility to investigate the 
President's apparent conflicts of interest. H. Res. 111 would 
have helped us to obtain basic information related to these 
troubling reports. By voting to dispose of the resolution, the 
Majority has failed in its responsibilities in this area as 
well.
C. LThe Majority has refused to conduct even basic oversight of 
        President Trump.
    It is not surprising that the Majority voted to adversely 
report this simple request for information.
    On November 30, 2016, every Democratic Member of the House 
Judiciary Committee wrote to Chairman Goodlatte to request 
hearings on ``the federal conflict-of-interest and ethics 
provisions that may apply to the President of the United 
States.''\70\ We took note of President Trump's repeated 
insistence that the President cannot have a conflict of 
interest--and enclosed a long list of Federal ethics and 
conflict-of-interest statutes that, in fact, apply to the 
President.\71\ To date, we have received no reply to this 
letter.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \70\Letter from Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, et al., to Chairman Bob Goodlatte, H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, Nov. 30, 2016.
    \71\Id. at 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On January 24, 2017, every Democratic Member of the House 
Judiciary Committee again wrote to the Chairman, insisting that 
``the Committee hold hearings on President Trump's conflicts of 
interest, at home and abroad, in possible violation of federal 
law.''\72\ Citing to the analysis of legal experts across the 
political spectrum, we showed that ``[t]he Administration's 
attempts to address its ongoing conflict of interests are, so 
far, wholly inadequate.''\73\ To date, we have received no 
reply to this letter either.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \72\Letter from Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, et al., to Chairman Robert Goodlatte, H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, Jan. 24, 2017.
    \73\Id. at 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On February 15, 2017, at a markup of the Committee's annual 
oversight plan, Chairman Goodlatte announced that he had 
``requested, for the benefit of the full committee, a briefing 
by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation for the matter involving Mr. Flynn in the White 
House, both what took place and how that that was leaked.''\74\ 
To date, no such briefing has been scheduled.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \74\Unofficial Tr. of Markup of Authorization and Oversight Plan; 
H.R. 985; H.R. 906,before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, Feb. 15, 2017 
(statement of Chairman Robert Goodlatte).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At that same February 15 meeting, the Committee considered 
several amendments to the Committee's annual oversight plan. 
One amendment offered by Chairman Goodlatte, as subsequently 
amended by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), stated the Committee's 
intention to conduct oversight into allegations of misconduct 
by executive branch officials and to continue oversight into 
allegations of foreign interference with Federal elections.\75\ 
We took this initial step as a positive sign. The Majority then 
proceeded to reject amendments that would have focused the 
Committee's attention on a number of urgent matters--including 
enforcement of the Foreign Emoluments Clause,\76\ allegations 
of contact between the Russian government and the Trump 
campaign,\77\ and the specific conclusion of the intelligence 
community that the Russian government engaged in a massive 
effort to influence the presidential election in favor of 
President Trump.\78\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \75\Id.
    \76\Id. (amendment offered by Rep. Jamie Raskin).
    \77\Id. (amendment offered by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee).
    \78\Id. (amendment offered by Rep. Eric Swalwell).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At the markup of H. Res. 111, Chairman Goodlatte argued 
that he planned to send, ``along with any willing members of 
this committee, a letter requesting that the Attorney General 
proceed with investigations into any criminal conduct involving 
these matters.''\79\ Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) argued that, 
although he could not support the resolution, ``there is a 
letter that is in draft form that I have already looked at and 
made comments on that asks for information and cooperation by 
the Attorney General.''\80\ As more in the Majority indicated 
their support for this letter, the Chairman assured the 
Committee that he would send the letter ``this week.''\81\ To 
date, no such letter has been shared with the Minority or sent 
to the Department of Justice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \79\Markup Tr. (statement of Chairman Bob Goodlatte).
    \80\Id. (remarks of Rep. Darrell Issa).
    \81\Id. (remarks of Chairman Bob Goodlatte).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             IV. CONCLUSION

    In debate over H. Res. 111, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) 
suggested that the resolution was unnecessary because ``[w]e 
have already, as the Judiciary Committee, amended our oversight 
plan to include a thorough review of that which is under our 
jurisdiction relating to the executive branch.''\82\ As Rep. 
Cicilline pointed out, ``the adoption of that oversight plan 
mandates that we begin the work of doing oversight, and this 
resolution of inquiry is the first step: to gather information, 
to ask questions.''\83\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \82\Id. (remarks of Rep. Matthew Gaetz).
    \83\Id. (remarks of Rep. David Cicilline).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee must begin the work of doing oversight. We 
have reasoned with our colleagues in the Majority, we have 
written letters, and we have offered H. Res. 111. We are not 
deterred by the Majority's reluctance to do the hard work of 
holding this Administration accountable for its actions. We 
will look for every opportunity to persuade them to join us in 
our efforts.
    Nevertheless, when given the opportunity to ask the 
Department of Justice for information about the Trump 
Administration's ties to Russia and the President's refusal to 
address his conflicts of interest, the Majority has looked the 
other way. These matters have the potential to do real and 
lasting harm to our democracy. If the crisis comes, when the 
damage is done, the Majority will be every bit as complicit as 
President Trump.

                                   Mr. Conyers, Jr.
                                   Mr. Nadler.
                                   Ms. Lofgren.
                                   Ms. Jackson Lee.
                                   Mr. Cohen.
                                   Mr. Johnson, Jr.
                                   Mr. Deutch.
                                   Mr. Gutierrez.
                                   Ms. Bass.
                                   Mr. Richmond.
                                   Mr. Jeffries.
                                   Mr. Cicilline.
                                   Mr. Swalwell
                                   Mr. Lieu
                                   Mr. Raskin
                                   Ms. Jayapal

                                 [all]