The White House has told former top presidential aide Hope Hicks and another former senior staffer to not cooperate with a congressional investigation of alleged obstruction of justice by Donald Trump, a senior Democrat said Tuesday.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Hicks and Annie Donaldson, the former chief of staff to White House counsel Don McGahn, were instructed to not comply with his panel’s subpoena for documents related to their time in the White House.
The move opened a new front in Trump’s battle to block congressional investigations of him, with a number of Democrats calling for impeachment of the president over acts of obstruction documented in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia meddling investigation.
It came two weeks after Donaldson’s former boss, White House counsel Don McGahn, ignored a subpoena from Nadler’s committee to testify on Trump’s order.
“The president has no lawful basis for preventing these witnesses from complying with our request,” Nadler said.
Nadler’s committee is investigating alleged obstruction of justice, corruption, and other possible abuses by Trump, his associates, and members of his administration.
His committee would be responsible for any impeachment effort in the House.
The three former staffers provided key testimony supporting Mueller’s documenting multiple acts of possible criminal obstruction by Trump in the Russia investigation.
Mueller did not declare any charges against Trump, citing Justice Department restrictions, but said it was Congress’s responsibility to hold the president to the law.
Nadler said the committee will continue to press for the documents and still expect Hicks and Donaldson to testify.
On Monday, Democratic Representative Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, said he intends to introduce a resolution to find McGahn and Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas for testimony and documents related to the Russia and obstruction investigations.
The resolution, to be submitted next week, will authorize the Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce its subpoenas.
“This administration’s systematic refusal to provide Congress with answers and cooperate with congressional subpoenas is the biggest cover-up in American history, and Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight on behalf of the American people,” Hoyer said.
Separately, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings threatened contempt citations against Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for defying subpoenas seeking information related to the alleged politicization of the US census.
GOP will be ‘aided and abetted’ by Russian bots and trolls defending Trump: Former FBI counter-intel chief
The former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Americans to "hunker down" because Russian intelligence will be repeating Republican talking points.
Frank Figliuzzi was interviewed Thursday by MSNBC's Brian Williams on "The Last Word."
"Frank, Fiona Hill -- who richly deserves it -- has been awarded front page status tomorrow morning on the front page of The New York Times, and I imagine newspapers and websites across this country," Williams noted.
"It was extraordinary today when she -- in effect, begged -- asked, certainly, members of the committee to stop supplying Russian talking points, to stop advancing Russian propaganda in the Congress of the United States," he continued.
Trump has committed 6 impeachable offenses: Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe says ‘the evidence is all there’
Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe broke down the six impeachable offenses President Donald Trump has committed during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.
Tribe has argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court and taught at Harvard Law for 50 years. He co-authored the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment with Joshua Matz.
"Everyone was in the loop, it was no secret. That was the testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland yesterday as he implicated the president, Secretary of State, White House chief of staff, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton and other administration officials in the plot to bribe the president of Ukraine to publicly launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress and that the president was withholding," O'Donnell reported.
Rachel Maddow breaks down how public opinion is catching up with the facts of Trump’s impeachment
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Thursday broke down how the details from the televised impeachment hearings are being reported in local newspapers.
The host read the headlines from multiple newspapers following the damning testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
The Los Angels Times headlined, "Sonland implicates president." "Envoy says Trump directed effort," was The Wall Street Journal headline.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headlined, "'Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret': Defiant Sondland says he followed Trump's orders."
"Trump directed pressure on Ukraine, ambassador says," headlined The Kansas City Star.