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House Dems plan to force Russia votes

The Hill logo The Hill 7/14/2017 Cristina Marcos
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks while flanked by House members during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Friday. Pelosi called for the revocation of White House Adviser Jared Kushner's security clearance. © Mark Wilson, Getty Images Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks while flanked by House members during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Friday. Pelosi called for the revocation of White House Adviser Jared Kushner's security clearance. House Democrats announced a new strategy on Friday to force votes in an effort to highlight President Trump's possible ties to Russia.

Democrats plan to offer measures known as resolutions of inquiry that automatically trigger floor votes if they don't get action in committee within 14 legislative days.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and several other Democratic lawmakers scheduled a press conference in the Capitol to announce the plans on Friday morning.

The announcement included members of the House Financial Services, Ways and Means, Transportation and Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security and Judiciary committees.

Democrats are seizing on the few tools at their disposal given their limited ability to direct congressional oversight while in the minority.

Republicans are likely to consider the resolutions in committee to avoid forcing the entire House to vote on them.

Still, the votes are meant to put a spotlight on Trump as well as House Republicans, who Democrats say aren't being aggressive enough with oversight of the administration.

For instance, one resolution unveiled as part of the strategy would request documents or records from Trump relating to his abrupt firing of James Comey as FBI director in May and Attorney General Jeff Sessions' involvement in the decision.

The resolution, offered by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), will go to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

The Judiciary panel already rejected multiple previous resolutions of inquiry earlier this year that demanded documents from the Justice Department connecting the Trump campaign with the Russian government's 2016 election interference.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) also offered a resolution of inquiry in the House Ways and Means Committee to request President Trump's tax returns from the last decade.

The party-line votes in committee to dismiss the resolutions prevented any House floor vote.

But Democrats are determined to force more votes - even if they don't go anywhere - to pressure Republicans after revelations this week involving President Trump's son.

Donald Trump Jr. released emails on Tuesday showing how he set up a meeting last year with a Russian lawyer claiming to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

A publicist with ties to a Trump family business partner who served as an intermediary said that it was "obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

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