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By: Australian Associated Press in The West Australian

Australia’s monopoly on a unique US work visa appears set to be broken with President Donald Trump reportedly ceding to a lobbying effort by Ireland.

The E3 is a two-year visa allowing Australian professionals and their spouses to work in the US with no limit to the number of additional two-year extensions.

The US does not offer the E3 to any other nation, but that could soon change after it was on Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s agenda when he met with Trump at the White House on Thursday, held a breakfast with Vice President Mike Pence and participated in St Patrick’s Day events with members of US Congress.

Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey successfully led a lobbying effort late last year that thwarted Ireland’s attempts but Trump and leaders in Congress appear to be backing Ireland’s bid.

“This week in Washington it was made clear to us by all the leaders of both parties that they want to get the E3 Bill passed,” Ireland’s special US envoy John Deasy told the Irish Examiner.

Mr Trump reportedly told Mr Varadkar the bill should be filed again.

“I want to thank you and Congress for your support for a new E3 visa program, which would allow a limited number of Irish people to come here annually,” Mr Varadkar told Mr Trump at the traditional bowl of shamrock event at the White House on Thursday.

It was just one senator, Arizona Republican and immigration hardliner Tom Cotton, who blocked the bill last year.

Mr Trump and Mr Pence reportedly spoke to Senator Cotton earlier this week about supporting the Irish.

Democrat congressman Richard Neal and Republican counterpart Jim Sensenbrenner are expected to reintroduce the bill.

Australia was first rewarded with the E3 in 2005 following its support for the US during the Iraq War and the signing of the US-Australia free trade agreement.

Each year 10,500 E3 visas are made available to Australians but only about half are snapped up.

Ireland is seeking the leftovers.

In return, Ireland may ease restrictions for American citizens who want to retire to Ireland.

By: Juno McEnroe the Irish Examiner

Fresh efforts to secure special work visas for Irish citizens in America will go ahead after talks between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and US president Donald Trump, writes Juno McEnroe in Washington DC.

The new bill for the E3 scheme could result in up to 5,000 extra visas going to Irish workers and their families annually.

As well as having the support of both US Republicans and Democrats, it is understood that Mr Trump personally had a hand in making progress with the proposed scheme.

Currently, thousands of E3 visas are not used annually by workers from Australia, which was given the special scheme in 2005 in exchange for its support of the US during the Iraq war.

The proposed E3 Bill would allocate to Irish citizens whatever visa Australians do not use, which are estimated to number at least 5,000 annually.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was told when in Washington DC this week that Democrat congressman Richard Neal will reintroduce the Bill, along with Republican Jim Sensenbrenner.

While the proposed Bill did pass its first US Congress hurdle last November, it was ultimately blocked in the senate by just one vote from Arizona immigration hardliner Tom Cotton.

The Irish Examiner understands that Mr Trump as well as US vice president Mike Pence, who is Irish-American, both spoke to Senator Cotton earlier this week, paving the way forward for the bill.

Mr Trump in turn told Mr Varadkar as well as special US envoy John Deasy this week that the bill should now be filed again. Support was also expressed for it at the special St Patrick’s Day Speakers’ Lunch on Capitol Hill.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Deasy said: “This week in Washington it was made clear to us by all the leaders of both parties that they want to get the E3 Bill passed. Richard Neal confirmed he would soon be reintroducing the bill.”

Mr Varadkar also signalled, during his speech in the White House at the bowl of shamrock presentation on Thursday night, that progress had been made on the special visa scheme.

He told Mr Trump: “I want to thank you and Congress for your support for a new E3 visa programme, which would allow a limited number of Irish people to come here annually.”

Australia currently gets an agreed 10,500 E3 visas a year, which can be renewed every two years.

For Australians to qualify, they must have a legitimate offer of employment and be taking up a position that would be considered a special occupation. The two-year visa also extends to an applicant’s spouse.

With Australia only utilising about half of their E3 quota annually, nearly 5,000 American working visas have been going unused every year.

In return for opening up access to the E3 visas, the government have said that they will look at easing up on restrictions for American citizens who want to retire to Ireland.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar arrived in Chicago last night for the second leg of his US visit. He attended the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago dinner and also met emigrant support groups.

Washington, D.C.Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) reintroduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2019. This legislation restores and modernizes a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Rep Sensenbrenner: “The right for each legal voter to cast a ballot is sacred, and we must restore and modernize the Voting Rights Act before the next election. I am proud to have twice led bipartisan efforts to reauthorize one of the most significant civil rights laws in American history and will continue to fight to ensure that every eligible individual who wishes to cast a ballot can do so.”

Background:
First codified in 1965, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) protected citizens by requiring states with historical patterns of discriminatory voting practices accountable. States that failed to meet requirements covered under Section 4 of the VRA had to preclear any changes to an election with the Department of Justice. A state could seek relief from the preclearance requirement after demonstrating to the D.C. Circuit Court that it had not committed any voter discrimination infractions within a ten-year period.

Congressman Sensenbrenner led negotiations in the 1982 reauthorization which passed the House 389-24 and the Senate 85-8 and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. A ceremonial signing pen hangs in Congressmen Sensenbrenner’s office.

As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Sensenbrenner led another VRA reauthorization in 2006. The Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, And Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act passed the House by 390-33 and the Senate by 98-0. President George w. Bush signed it into law on July 26, 2006.

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that the standard for deciding whether a state met the threshold to be covered by preclearance requirements was unconstitutional because it was based on outdated information regarding voter discrimination. The decision effectively rendered Section 5 of the VRA unenforceable.

Less than a month after the Court made its ruling, Congressman Sensenbrenner testified alongside civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (GA-05) before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of fixing and reinstating the coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act. Together, they introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act the following March to restore the formula in a way that addresses the Court’s concerns. Congressman Sensenbrenner has reintroduced similar legislation in every Congress since.

The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2019 would apply equally to every state and only covers states with five documented violations within the last 15 years. 

By: Dr. Susan Berry of Breitbart

Republican senators introduced legislation Wednesday that would close a loophole in U.S. immigration laws that can easily be exploited to enable child marriages.

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), joined with Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Tom Cotton of Arkansas to introduce the bill that would ban spousal and fiancé immigration benefits if one of the parties applying for the benefits is under the age of 18.

“A visa to enter the United States is a privilege, and this straightforward reform will help close a loophole that can lead to the abuse and exploitation of children,” Johnson said in a press release statement. “I hope my colleagues will join me to advance this commonsense legislation.”

In January, HSGAC released a majority staff report that focused on the problem of how U.S. immigration law encourages child marriages.

Key findings of the report included that, between 2007-2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved immigration petitions for nearly 8,700 spouses and fiancés in marriages involving children under the age of 18. The younger person in the marriage was a girl in 95 percent of the cases.

Additionally, USCIS granted petitions to couples with significant age differences. According to the staff report, “USCIS approved 149 petitions involving a minor with an adult spouse or fiancé who was more than 40 years old.”

The report also found that, during the same ten-year period, USCIS approved green cards to more than 4,700 minors in the U.S. on spousal or fiancé visas, and allowed them to become lawful permanent U.S. residents.

“Child marriage is a serious problem which puts young girls, in particular, at risk,” Ernst said in the joint statement.

“[W]e must address this massive loophole in our immigration system with common sense solutions, and that’s exactly what our legislation does,” she continued, “require both parties be 18 years-old in order to obtain spousal immigration benefits.”

“Child marriage, almost always between a male adult and a female minor, can rob young girls of their education, personal development, and physical and mental health,” Cotton also said. “Unfortunately, U.S. law currently grants immigration benefits to individuals seeking adult-minor unions. Our immigration laws shouldn’t be used to encourage child marriage, and our bill would put an end to this exploitative practice.”

GOP Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin authored a companion bill in the House.

“The committee’s eye-opening report shows the gruesome reality that people manipulate our immigration system to enter into child marriages,” Sensenbrenner said in the press statement. “I’m proud to lead the effort in the House to stop the exploitation of children through our immigration laws and am grateful to Senator Johnson for his work uncovering this disturbing information.”

In February, USCIS released guidance that clarifies agency requirements on spousal petitions that involve minors. The guidance emphasizes to adjudicators that marriages involving a minor should be flagged for special attention.

USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said that while the new guidance provides “steps in the right direction, ultimately it is up to Congress to bring more certainty and legal clarity to this process for both petitioners and USCIS officers.”

By: Bob Hague of WRN

Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators split their votes Thursday, as the U.S. Senate voted 59-41 to approve a resolution to overturn President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border. A total of 12 Republicans joined all Democrats to pass the resolution, which passed the House last month.

Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson released a statement following his “no” vote.

“Unfortunately, securing America’s border has turned into a political brawl, with Democrats – who supported border barriers in the past – now refusing to supply the funding for necessary barriers because they don’t like this president. We have a growing humanitarian crisis at our border that has seen more families and unaccompanied children enter our country in the last five months than at any other time on record. That certainly qualifies as an emergency. Today’s vote will not fix any problem, but it does demonstrate whether a senator supports or opposes border security. I will always choose to support border and homeland security. We will deal with the issue of reclaiming congressional authority under the National Emergencies Act in my committee in the very near future.”

Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin noted that the House passed the resolution with bipartisan support, 245 to 182, and Republican U.S. Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner and Mike Gallagher joined Wisconsin Democrats Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan in voting yes.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin ?@SenatorBaldwin
 

I voted today with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to stand up for our Constitution and our American system of checks and balances. President Trump’s unlawful power grab is an attack on our Constitution’s separation of powers. https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/statement-on-senate-vote-to-terminate-national-emergency 

98 people are talking about this
 
 


The Senate vote sends the resolution to the president, and Congress does not have the votes to override Trump’s promised veto.

By: Randel Johnson and Alexander Passantino of Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Paycheck Fairness Act Clears Committee. On February 26, the House Committee on Education and Labor reported out H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would radically revise the Equal Pay Act. House leadership is promising swift floor action, with the bill possibly being brought up within the next two to three weeks, with passage all but-assured. Importantly, however, there were no defections at the Committee level on the Republican side, a fact that was not a given going into this debate considering the sensitivities of the issues. You may recall that Seyfarth partner Camille Olson was the sole witness invited to testify on problems with the legislation; the other six witnesses were wholly supportive. Her testimony helped lay the groundwork for a number of amendments, including one striking new provisions that would quite literally make it impossible for an employer to demonstrate that a factor other than sex explained the pay differential at issue. Unfortunately, the Committee rejected the amendments, and cleared the way for the plaintiffs' bar to rack up easy wins, with unlimited punitive and compensatory damages and expanded class actions.

Previously, House-passed versions of this overreaching legislation have died in the Senate but, given the heightened focus on these sensitive issues and the fact three Republican women are up for reelection next year, we are taking nothing for granted and will remain engaged as the debate moves to the Senate.

Senate Committee Moves Labor Nominees (Again). In a party line vote, on February 27, the Senate HELP Committee once again approved the nominations of a number of key labor nominees, including the heads of OSHA, ETA, and the Wage & Hour Division, and the chair of the EEOC. Their nominations now proceed to the full Senate, where the if and when of their confirmations remain unclear.

Legislators Introduce Bill Aimed at Ending Mandatory Arbitration. Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT), and Reps. Johnson (D-GA) and Nadler (D-NY) today announced their introduction of the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act. Not to be confused with the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act of 2019, also introduced in this Congress, the arbitration-focused bill would reportedly invalidate predispute agreements to arbitrate employment, consumer, antitrust, and civil rights matters. Text of the bill is not yet available.

Bipartisan Bill to Ease Standards for ADEA Claims. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced H.R. 1230/S. 485, the "Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act." Another oldie which has been introduced in past Congresses, the bill would overrule the Supreme Court's 2009 decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., which requires plaintiffs in age discrimination cases to prove "but for" causation. According to the sponsors, the bill would ease the standard of proof for ADEA cases and bring it in line with Title VII requirements. Text of the bill is not yet available, however. Notwithstanding its bipartisan introduction, the bill faces an uncertain future. We have been involved in past negotiations over prior versions of this legislation and anticipate will be again.

New Hampshire Senate Passes Non-Compete Ban. The state legislatures remain active on a wide variety of labor and employment issues, but there has been a recent uptick in efforts to ban (in some form or fashion) the use of non-compete agreements. New Hampshire is the latest state to enter the fray, with the state Senate passing--by voice vote and without debate--a bill prohibiting employers from using non-compete agreements for low-wage workers. The bill is expected to move on to the state House this spring. See Seyfarth's Trading Secrets blog for more.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

By: Diane Bartz of kfgo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers questioning the chief executives of T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp over their planned merger sparred with each other on Tuesday over T-Mobile's executives staying at President Donald Trump's hotel where they spent $195,000 while in Washington.

T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere defended the $26 billion deal before a House subcommittee, saying the company would be better and faster at building 5G, the next generation of wireless, to compete with industry leaders AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc and would create jobs while prices would not rise.

But Representative Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia, asked instead about Legere taking a group of executives to stay at the Trump International Hotel the day after the merger was announced last year. The hotel stay had been previously reported.

Legere acknowledged staying at the hotel, telling the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee: "I'm a longtime Trump hotel stayer."

"You see how that looks?" Johnson pressed on. "You understand the optics of that? What it looks like? It looks like what's happening is that T-Mobile is trying to curry favor with the White House."

Legere said that he was unaware of any contacts between the White House and the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission who were reviewing the deal.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat, agreed with Johnson's concerns. "It appears that you were trying to influence the merger," she told Legere.

Republicans on the committee disagreed.

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican, said that where the T-Mobile executives stayed was irrelevant. "I'm kind of embarrassed sitting here listening to the line of questioning of the gentleman from Georgia," he said, referring to Johnson.

Representatives Matt Gaetz and Ken Buck, both Republicans, mocked the hotel issue. "I had dinner at the Trump hotel three weeks ago," Buck said. "I wonder if I have a conflict of interest?"

Legere said on Twitter on Sunday that on this trip to Washington he stayed at a different hotel.

MERGER CONCERNS

Two key House Democrats expressed concern about the agreement to combine the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. wireless carriers, which was struck in April.

Representative David Cicilline, chair of the antitrust panel, noted that both companies had competed hard against their bigger rivals. "I am deeply skeptical that consolidation is the path forward to lowering prices, increasing opportunity, or unleashing competition," he added.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, chair of the full committee, said he was concerned about the companies' dominance of prepaid plans, usually used by people who are poorer or have bad credit.

"Because the proposed transaction would also consolidate the market for these services, it may have disproportionately negative effects on low-income households," he said.

To win support for the deal, T-Mobile previously said it would not increase prices for three years. Sprint said it hopes to complete the regulatory approval process by the end of June.

Last month at a congressional hearing, House Democrats raised worries about the deal because the U.S. wireless market has just four main carriers.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Phil Berlowitz)

By: KFIZ am 1450

U.S. Representatives Ron Kind and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday to manage and prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. The Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act will support state and tribal efforts to develop and implement management strategies and support research regarding the causes of CWD. The bill will also support methods to control the spread of the disease. As of February, CWD has been confirmed in 26 states, and there are serious concerns the disease will continue to spread across the country. In Wisconsin, 1,049 deer tested positive for CWD in 2018 in 19 counties. Senator Jon Tester of Montana introduced companion legislation in the senate. A number of wildlife and sportsmen organizations also voiced their support for the bill, including the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. Read more about the bill here

By: News8000

Since President Donald Trump's first year in office, Democratic members of Congress have introduced articles of impeachment, claiming he obstructed justice when he fired FBI director James Comey during an investigation into Russia's interference with the 2016 presidential election.

That effort was contained to a handful of members before the Democrats flipped the House in 2018. Now high-profile freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib is increasing the pressure to open impeachment proceedings despite resistance from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, other Democratic leaders and many rank-and-file members from competitive districts.

"I think every single colleague of mine agrees there's impeachable offenses," the Michigan Democrat said Wednesday.

"We may disagree on the pace," she added.

Tlaib will soon file an impeachment resolution that will once again open the debate within the party about how Democrats in Congress should investigate the President and whether to move to remove him from office, pitting those from heavily Democratic districts -- like Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who supports impeachment -- against those from purple districts.

Rep. Joe Cunningham, a Democrat from South Carolina, told CNN on Wednesday that he would not support the impeachment resolution. He said Congress should allow special counsel Robert Mueller to finish his report on Russian interference in the election and that his constituents had sent him to Washington to lower the cost of health care and restore America's infrastructure.

"They ain't send me up here for impeachment purposes," Cunningham said.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a New Jersey Democrat, said he also would oppose Tlaib's resolution. "If there isn't anything unbelievably unusual and there's just some distasteful issues -- which there are, no doubt -- I think we move forward," he said. "We have an election, and then we take it from there."

Pelosi has attempted again and again to redirect talk of impeachment to other issues, noting last week how "divisive" it is in the country.

"You don't want to go down that path unless it is unavoidable," she recently told Rolling Stone magazine.

Investigations increase scrutiny on Trump

But that path has proved difficult for Democrats to avoid.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which would take up articles of impeachment, said on ABC over the weekend that it was "very clear" the President had obstructed justice, echoing his committee's charge during the Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton presidencies. Nadler said Trump obstructed justice when he referred to the special counsel investigation as a witch hunt thousands of times, tried to "protect" former national security adviser Michael Flynn from an FBI investigation and fired Comey with the Russia probe on his mind.

Nadler made sure on Sunday to say that "impeachment is a long way down the road," adding they don't have the evidence. "Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen," the New York Democrat said.

On Monday, Nadler announced a sweeping investigation, sending letters to 81 people and entities -- including the White House, the Justice Department, senior campaign officials, Trump Organization officials and the President's sons -- marking the start of investigations into allegations of obstruction of justice, abuses of power and corruption.

Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee are keen on seeing what that will uncover.

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland said that while media reports and Mueller's indictments form members' impressions and judgments, Congress needs to do its own fact-finding investigation before starting impeachment proceedings, citing former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's recent public hearing as its first witness testimony.

"There appears to be overwhelming evidence of obstruction of justice based on everything we know," said Raskin in an interview. "But we haven't done an investigation of our own. And that's what it's about."

Waiting for Mueller

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York said on Wednesday that Democrats should hold off on talking about impeachment as Mueller writes his report.

"Bob Mueller has work to do," said Jeffries, who as Democratic caucus chair is a member of leadership. "He has to complete his investigation, report to the Department of Justice and allow Congress and the American people to then process those findings before deciding how to proceed. Impeachment is premature at this moment."

When asked whether he thought the President should be impeached, Rep. Lou Correa, a California Democrat, replied, "That's not the question before us."

When asked what it was, Correa said, "Oversight."

A vocal minority of House Democrats have said they think impeachment proceedings should begin.

Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee introduced articles of impeachment back in 2017.

"The time has come to make clear to the American people and to this President that his train of injuries to our Constitution must be brought to an end through impeachment," he said in a statement at the time.

This week, Cohen told CNN that Trump had obstructed justice, adding that "it's only not clear for his 35% hard core (base) and his acolytes in Congress."

Some Republicans maintain that Trump did not obstruct justice, and the White House has denied any wrongdoing. Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top GOP member of the Judiciary Committee, called Nadler's new, wide-ranging probe an effort to find evidence to confirm what the chairman already believed.

But others are waiting for Mueller's report before answering whether Trump had committed an impeachable offense.

"The congressman isn't going to participate in any speculation or gossip regarding the matter while the Mueller investigation wraps up," said Chris Krepich, a spokesman for Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. "He finds it disappointing that Chairman Nadler chose to jump the gun and accuse the President of crimes in order to assuage his liberal base."

By: Alex Rogers of CNN

(CNN)Since President Donald Trump's first year in office, Democratic members of Congress have introduced articles of impeachment, claiming he obstructed justice when he fired FBI director James Comey during an investigation into Russia's interference with the 2016 presidential election.

That effort was contained to a handful of members before the Democrats flipped the House in 2018. Now high-profile freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib is increasing the pressure to open impeachment proceedings despite resistance from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, other Democratic leaders and many rank-and-file members from competitive districts.
"I think every single colleague of mine agrees there's impeachable offenses," the Michigan Democrat said Wednesday.
"We may disagree on the pace," she added.
    Tlaib will soon file an impeachment resolution that will once again open the debate within the party about how Democrats in Congress should investigate the President and whether to move to remove him from office, pitting those from heavily Democratic districts -- like Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who supports impeachment -- against those from purple districts.
    Rep. Joe Cunningham, a Democrat from South Carolina, told CNN on Wednesday that he would not support the impeachment resolution. He said Congress should allow special counsel Robert Mueller to finish his report on Russian interference in the election and that his constituents had sent him to Washington to lower the cost of health care and restore America's infrastructure.
    "They ain't send me up here for impeachment purposes," Cunningham said.
    Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a New Jersey Democrat, said he also would oppose Tlaib's resolution. "If there isn't anything unbelievably unusual and there's just some distasteful issues -- which there are, no doubt -- I think we move forward," he said. "We have an election, and then we take it from there."
    Pelosi has attempted again and again to redirect talk of impeachment to other issues, noting last week how "divisive" it is in the country.
    "You don't want to go down that path unless it is unavoidable," she recently told Rolling Stone magazine.

    Investigations increase scrutiny on Trump

    But that path has proved difficult for Democrats to avoid.
    Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which would take up articles of impeachment, said on ABC over the weekend that it was "very clear" the President had obstructed justice, echoing his committee's charge during the Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton presidencies. Nadler said Trump obstructed justice when he referred to the special counsel investigation as a witch hunt thousands of times, tried to "protect" former national security adviser Michael Flynn from an FBI investigation and fired Comey with the Russia probe on his mind.
    Nadler made sure on Sunday to say that "impeachment is a long way down the road," adding they don't have the evidence. "Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen," the New York Democrat said.
    On Monday, Nadler announced a sweeping investigation, sending letters to 81 people and entities -- including the White House, the Justice Department, senior campaign officials, Trump Organization officials and the President's sons -- marking the start of investigations into allegations of obstruction of justice, abuses of power and corruption.
    Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee are keen on seeing what that will uncover.
    Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland said that while media reports and Mueller's indictments form members' impressions and judgments, Congress needs to do its own fact-finding investigation before starting impeachment proceedings, citing former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's recent public hearing as its first witness testimony.
    "There appears to be overwhelming evidence of obstruction of justice based on everything we know," said Raskin in an interview. "But we haven't done an investigation of our own. And that's what it's about."

    Waiting for Mueller

    Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York said on Wednesday that Democrats should hold off on talking about impeachment as Mueller writes his report.
    "Bob Mueller has work to do," said Jeffries, who as Democratic caucus chair is a member of leadership. "He has to complete his investigation, report to the Department of Justice and allow Congress and the American people to then process those findings before deciding how to proceed. Impeachment is premature at this moment."
    When asked whether he thought the President should be impeached, Rep. Lou Correa, a California Democrat, replied, "That's not the question before us."
    When asked what it was, Correa said, "Oversight."
    A vocal minority of House Democrats have said they think impeachment proceedings should begin.
    Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee introduced articles of impeachment back in 2017.
    "The time has come to make clear to the American people and to this President that his train of injuries to our Constitution must be brought to an end through impeachment," he said in a statement at the time.
    This week, Cohen told CNN that Trump had obstructed justice, adding that "it's only not clear for his 35% hard core (base) and his acolytes in Congress."
    Some Republicans maintain that Trump did not obstruct justice, and the White House has denied any wrongdoing. Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top GOP member of the Judiciary Committee, called Nadler's new, wide-ranging probe an effort to find evidence to confirm what the chairman already believed.
      But others are waiting for Mueller's report before answering whether Trump had committed an impeachable offense.
      "The congressman isn't going to participate in any speculation or gossip regarding the matter while the Mueller investigation wraps up," said Chris Krepich, a spokesman for Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. "He finds it disappointing that Chairman Nadler chose to jump the gun and accuse the President of crimes in order to assuage his liberal base."