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With a line that extended around the block, a packed hearing, and hundreds of thousands of signatures delivered, it was made clear on Tuesday that the people want answers regarding President Donald Trump's conflicts of interest and potential ties to Russia, and are demanding that Congress pave the way.
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will vote on the resolution of inquiry introduced earlier this month by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who, ahead of the hearing, delivered 850,000 petition signatures demanding an investigation into Trump's potential conflicts of interest.
While progressive organizations and others shared pictures of people lining the halls and sidewalks outside Tuesday's hearing, reports from inside indicated that the Republican-dominated committee was stalling on the scheduled vote.
— MoveOn.org (@MoveOn) February 28, 2017
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) February 28, 2017
The obscure measure would force Attorney General Jeff Sessions to release documents to the U.S. House "relating to the financial practices" of the president, including "any criminal or counterintelligence investigation" targeting him or any employment of the executive office, foreign government investment in any of Trump's holdings, the specific "proposal to maintain an interest in his business holdings," the Foreign Emoluments Clause, and any other documents relating to potential conflicts of interest, as Common Dreams previously reported.
Nadler and his 130 House colleagues co-sponsoring the resolution of inquiry see Tuesday's committee hearing as a moment of truth for Trump as well as congressional Republicans who thus far have shielded the president from disclosure and are likely to continue doing so.
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) February 28, 2017
"We are here today to demand answers. We are here today in search of the truth," Nadler said during a press conference before Tuesday's hearing. "We are here today to find out where our Republican colleagues stand on these issues. Will they stand with the American people who demand answers? Or will they bow down to the Trump Administration and refuse to hold them accountable for their actions?"
"The American people have many, many questions about Donald Trump—about his connections with Russia, about his business ties, and about his potential conflicts of interest," Nadler continued. "Now, many of these questions are not new. We have been asking them for months. But so far we have heard nothing. Nothing from the Trump Administration. Nothing from the Attorney General. And nothing from the Republicans in Congress. Despite our repeated efforts to seek out the truth, our calls have fallen on deaf ears."
"Well, not anymore," he added. "They can't avoid us any longer."
Earlier this week, MoveOn.org released a video with Nadler explaining how his strategic resolution will "force the Republicans to vote whether they want to participate in the cover up of what went on or whether they want to do their job of proper oversight."
Anna Galland, executive director MoveOn.org Civic Action, said pointedly, "If Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee kill Rep. Nadler's resolution in committee, Republicans will be on record against finding out the truth."
Pointing to the recent flood of civic engagement and protests at congressional town hall events, Joe Dinkin, national communications director for the Working Families Party, said: "Americans just turned out in droves at town halls to demand that their members of Congress resist Trump's attacks on working families and investigate his corruption and ethical violations. The only proper response from Congress is to demand a full and independent investigation."