House Democrats will examine Donald Trump’s alleged role in hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, part of a series of investigations they’re launching into the president this fall.

The House Judiciary Committee plans to hold hearings and call witnesses in October about the payoffs made to the women during the 2016 campaign.

The payments to the porn star and former Playboy model to keep them quiet about affairs they claimed to have with Trump resulted in Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney, pleading guilty to two campaign finance violations.

Democrats believe there is enough evidence to name Trump as a co-conspirator in the matter.

It’s unclear if House Democrats would bring Cohen out of prison to testify before them on the president’s alleged actions.

Donald Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2005.

Cohen already testified under oath – to both federal prosecutors and members of Congress – that Trump directed the payments to Daniels and McDougal.

Additionally, the president was also named by federal prosecutors in New York in the matter as ‘Individual-1.’

‘Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,’ prosecutors wrote last year in a sentencing memo on the Cohen case.

Cohen made the $130,000 payment to Daniels himself and arranged for American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, to pay $150,000 to McDougal in a ‘catch-and-kill’ operation.

‘I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Mr. Trump hide that payment from the American people before they voted a few days later,’ Cohen told Congress earlier this year.

Prosecutors argued those payments acted as in-kind campaign donations to Trump, which violated the $5,400 limit.

AMI publisher David Pecker talked to prosecutors about the matter as part of an immunity deal.

[READ: Pro-Trump National Enquirer Now Up For Sale]

House Democrats are said to want to hear from Pecker when their probe heats up this fall.

Cohen, meanwhile, is serving a three-year sentence for the campaign violations, tax evasion and other federal charges.

But federal prosecutors closed the hush money probe in July without charging Trump andDemocrats now intend to take up where that investigation left off.

Trump’s attorneys have denied any wrong doing.

‘No campaign violations were engaged in by the president,’ Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal attorney, told The Washington Post.

The latest probe is one of a number of investigations the Judiciary Committee is conducting into Trump as members weigh whether or not to bring impeachment charges against him.

Impeachment will be one of the main topics of debate among House Democrats this fall and a weight on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has tried to hold back the tide.

More than 130 House Democrats support an impeachment inquiry against Trump – a majority of the party.

But Pelosi has said the impeachment process will begin when ‘we have what we need to proceed, not one day sooner.’

In a move to help placate the progressive wing of the party and take some of the heat off the speaker, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has said his committee has essentially begun an impeachment investigation already.

‘This is formal impeachment proceedings,’ Nadler told CNN in July. ‘We are investigating all the evidence, gathering the evidence. And we will [at the] conclusion of this — hopefully by the end of the year — vote to vote articles of impeachment to the House floor. Or we won’t. That’s a decision that we’ll have to make. But that’s exactly the process we’re in right now.’

First up on his committee’s agenda, however, is potential obstruction of justice committed by Trump.

When lawmakers return to Washington D.C. next week after their August recess, the panel plans to continue its look at potential obstruction of justice charges against the president as outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Attorney General William Barr did not pursue obstruction charges against Trump, citing longstanding Justice Department policy not to charge a sitting president.

As part of their probe, Nadler’s panel is pursuing testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn – a key witness in Mueller’s report.

McGahn defied a congressional subpoena at the White House’s request and the matter has gone to the courts.

The former White House counsel described to Mueller’s investigators the president’s efforts to stymie the special counsel’s investigation, including ordering the firing of Mueller himself.

Nadler’s committee has also subpoenaed former White House staff secretary Rob Porter – another key Mueller witness – to appear before them on Tuesday, September 17. Porter has yet to respond but that is also expected to go the courts if he does not appear.

Porter took extensive notes in his role as staff secretary and spent 20 hours talking to Mueller’s team. His testimony included a recount of how Trump tried to pressure then Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal from overseeing Mueller’s probe.

In July, the House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize additional subpoenas, targeting Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Homeland Security secretary and White House chief of staff John Kelly.

 

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