The House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed two more former top White House officials after ex-White House Counsel Donald McGahn ignored his subpoena to testify about President Donald Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice.
Democratic chairman Jerrold Nadler says the committee wants to hear from former communications director Hope Hicks and McGahn’s former chief of staff Annie Donaldson.
They have been ordered to provide documents and summoned to appear before the lawmakers next month.
Shortly before she resigned in March 2018, Hicks told the House Intelligence Committee that she sometimes told “white lies” for Trump.
As McGahn’s second-in-command, Donaldson is believed to have pages and pages of notes related to Trump and his reaction to the Mueller investigation.
Contempt of Congress
Meanwhile, Nadler is threatening to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify Tuesday, after Trump told him to ignore the subpoena and the Justice Department said he cannot be forced to appear.
“Our subpoenas are not optional,” Nadler said as he sat just a few meters from McGahn’s empty witness chair. “Let me be clear: this committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony even if we have to go to court to secure it...we will not allow the president to stop this committee’s investigation.”
Nadler said McGahn’s testimony was essential after the Mueller report recounted that Trump ordered McGahn to get rid of Mueller and then lie about it to the press. McGahn refused to carry out Trump’s orders.
The Mueller team interviewed McGahn for 30 hours about his interactions with Trump.
GOP sees a ‘circus’
The leading Republican Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins, attacked Democrats for staging the short hearing without McGahn, calling it “a circus.”
“The Democrats are trying to make something out of nothing,” noting that Mueller concluded that Trump did not collude with Russia to help him win the White House.
Trump tweeted Tuesday “The Democrats were unhappy with the outcome of the $40 million Mueller Report, so now they want a do-over.”
Mueller reached no decision whether Trump obstructed justice by trying to thwart his investigation.
Attorney General William Barr and former deputy Rod Rosenstein concluded there there weren’t sufficient grounds to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.
Lawmakers not satisfied
Nadler’s committee voted two weeks ago to hold Barr in contempt of Congress after he refused to turn over an unredacted copy of Mueller’s 448-page report into whether Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia.
But congressional Democrats, along with several Republicans are not satisfied by Mueller’s stated inability to reach a conclusion about obstruction allegations, and his statement that he could not exonerate the president.
A Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, David Cicilline, told MSNBC television that if McGahn listened to Trump and defied the subpoena, an impeachment inquiry against the president should be started.