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White House Tells Two More Witnesses, Including Hope Hicks, Not To Cooperate With Congress

WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday instructed two more former aides to President Trump not to cooperate with subpoenas from House lawmakers investigating possible obstruction of justice, maintaining its position that Congress has no right to information turned over previously to the special counsel.

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Judiciary Committee chairman who issued the subpoenas, said he had received notice Tuesday morning of the White House instructions to Hope Hicks, the former communications director, and Annie Donaldson, the chief of staff to former White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II.

[Read the Judiciary Committee subpoenas for Ms. Hicks and Ms. Donaldson.]

Mr. Nadler said that Ms. Hicks, who also served as a top aide on Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, did produce some documents related to her work before the election. He called it a “show of good faith” but blasted the White House for its continued blockade of House oversight requests.

“Federal law makes clear that the documents we requested — documents that left the White House months ago — are no longer covered by executive privilege, if they ever were,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement. “The president has no lawful basis for preventing these witnesses from complying with our request.”

Under subpoenas issued by the Judiciary Committee, the two witnesses had been instructed to deliver on Tuesday a range of documents related to their work in the White House, including notes and records related to some of Mr. Trump’s attempts to thwart federal investigators — attempts documented by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in the report he completed in March.

The subpoenas also call for Ms. Hicks and Ms. Donaldson to testify publicly later this month — and there was no indication on Tuesday whether or not they would comply. Mr. Nadler made clear his position that they both were still expected to show up before the panel. Ms. Hicks has been subpoenaed to appear on June 19 and Ms. Donaldson on June 24.

“We will continue to seek reasonable accommodation on these and all our discovery requests and intend to press these issues when we obtain the testimony of both Ms. Hicks and Ms. Donaldson,” he said.

But there appears to be little chance either former aide will testify, bolstering the case made by a growing number of House Democrats that the president is actively obstructing another branch of government from doing its constitutionally sanctioned oversight function, and that impeachment proceedings are the only proportional response.

The White House issued similar instructions not to cooperate to Mr. McGahn, who had served as one the most important witnesses in Mr. Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice. He ultimately did not produce a single document or appear for a hearing. The House is now poised to hold him in contempt of Congress next week and take the dispute to court to try to enforce its subpoena — steps that could soon follow for Ms. Hicks and Ms. Donaldson if they do not show up to the Judiciary Committee’s hearings.

Source: NYT

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