Four potentially devastating witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry will follow White House orders and will refuse to testify.
The White House told the administration officials they cannot testify Monday in closed-door depositions as lawmakers investigate President Donald Trump’s scheme to withhold aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rivals, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Two White House lawyers, John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis, had been scheduled to give depositions Monday, along with Brian McCormick, a deputy official in the Office of Management and Budget, and Robert Blair, a presidential assistant and senior adviser to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Eisenberg was identified by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as the White House official who suggested moving a transcript of Trump’s controversial phone call to a classified server, which violated longstanding official protocol.
Blair listened to the call as it took place July 25, and was also advised of the decision-making process for withholding congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine as leverage to announce an investigation of Joe Biden.
It’s not yet clear how Democrats will respond to the White House block, but a federal judge is already considering whether former Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman can be forced to testify.