Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, will not initiate an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against President Donald Trump, he signaled in a letter Tuesday.
Responding to a Monday letter signed by more than 100 House Democrats asking him to launch an investigation, the South Carolina Republican said he would forward the letter to the Department of Justice.
The allegations in the Democrats’ letter “constitute crimes” that violate state and possibly federal law, Gowdy wrote in the letter.
“This Committee, nor any other Committee of Congres, does not, and cannot, prosecute crimes,” Gowdy’s letter said. “We are sending a copy of your letter to the Department of Justice albeit with the understanding the Department does not have jurisdiction over state law violations.”
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Jackie Speier said House Rule X gives Congress the authority to “investigate anything at any time.”
“It is under that House rule that we are calling on the Government Oversight Committee to do the investigation,” Speier said.
“The American people deserve a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations” against the president, Democratic lawmakers said in their letter Monday addressed to Gowdy and Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland. The letter lists the names of the 17 women who’ve publicly claimed they were victims of sexual misbehavior by Trump and summarizes a few of their stories.
The president has denied all such allegations.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated to reporters Monday and last week that American voters decided what they thought of the allegations when they voted Trump into office in 2016.