U.S. President Donald Trump argues with then White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (L) as White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders listens at the White House in this Jan 17, 2018, photo. Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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U.S. House Democrats subpoena more Trump ex-aides, including Hicks

63 Comments
By Sarah N Lynch and Jan Wolfe

A U.S. House committee chairman on Tuesday subpoenaed two more former White House aides, including Hope Hicks, just hours after former White House Counsel Donald McGahn was a no-show for testimony before the panel at President Donald Trump's request.

As tensions rose between the Republican president and the Democrats who control the House of Representatives, lawmakers also negotiated for future testimony by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on his Russia investigation and debated whether to launch high-stakes impeachment proceedings against Trump.

The showdown between Trump and the Democrats intensified after McGahn, heeding Trump's instructions, ignored a subpoena from the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee and did not show up to testify before the panel.

Undeterred in a growing conflict with Trump over congressional powers to oversee his administration, committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler announced he had issued fresh subpoenas to Hicks, the former White House communications director, and to Annie Donaldson, McGahn's former chief of staff.

The subpoenas seek testimony and documents in connection with the committee's probe of whether the president obstructed Mueller's inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and contacts between Trump's campaign team and Moscow.

Despite McGahn's absence, the committee held a hearing lasting about a half-hour that featured an empty chair at the witness table. Nadler said at the hearing, "Let me be clear: this committee will hear Mr. McGahn's testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it."

In Mueller's investigative report, McGahn was a key witness regarding possible obstruction of justice by Trump. Career prosecutors not involved in the case have said the report contained strong evidence that Trump committed a crime when he pressured McGahn to fire Mueller and later urged him to lie about it.

Attorney General William Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official and a Trump appointee, on May 2 snubbed the same committee, which later voted to hold him in contempt of Congress for not handing over a full, unredacted Mueller report.

At the hearing skipped by Barr, an empty chair also figured prominently and a Democratic committee member placed a ceramic chicken on the table in front of it for the cameras. The ceramic chicken did not make a repeat appearance on Tuesday.

After the hearing that McGahn skipped, several Democrats said the Judiciary Committee was negotiating with Mueller about his possible testimony. A redacted version of Mueller's report was released by Barr last month.

"We are working with his team on that right now. I can't tell you for sure if he's going to come," said Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democratic committee member.

Republicans derided Tuesday's session as a political stunt.

"This is becoming a regular event. It's called the circus of Judiciary," said the panel's top Republican, Doug Collins.

Trump, seeking re-election in 2020, is refusing to cooperate with many congressional probes into his administration, his family and his business interests.

In the early days of Trump's presidency, few aides had more frequent access to him than Hicks, a former model and public relations consultant hired by Trump into the White House from his daughter Ivanka Trump's staff. She rose to communications director, but resigned from the White House in March 2018.

Any impeachment effort would begin in the House, led by the Judiciary Committee, before action in the Republican-led Senate on whether to remove Trump from office.

No U.S. president has ever been removed from office through impeachment, a process spelled out in the Constitution.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, who is locked in another legal battle with Trump over access to his financial records, told reporters Democrats are "moving more and more" toward using impeachment as an option in the showdown with Trump.

Taking it a step further, Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told reporters: "It's time for us to, at the very least, open an impeachment inquiry."

Other Democrats remained cautious, saying a federal judge's decision against Trump on Monday in a subpoena case shows a step-by-step approach in the courts can bring results.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington blocked a lawsuit by Trump that attempted to quash a subpoena sent by Cummings to Trump's long-time accounting firm Mazars LLP seeking the president's financial records. Trump has appealed the case.

Democrats have debated for months whether to initiate the impeachment process, with some lawmakers clamoring for it. But senior leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have counseled caution for fear of a voter backlash that could benefit Trump.

It was not immediately clear when Democrats might pursue a contempt citation against McGahn. The rules require 48-hour notice, but many House members will be flying out of town on Thursday for the Memorial Day holiday, a logistical challenge that means any contempt vote would be unlikely before June.

The redacted, 448-page Mueller report, 22 months in the making, showed how Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Trump's favor and detailed Trump's attempts to impede Mueller's probe.

The report found there was insufficient evidence to conclude that a criminal conspiracy between Moscow and the Trump campaign had taken place. It made no recommendation on whether Trump obstructed justice, leaving that question up to Congress.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

63 Comments

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Is the House going to charge McGahn, Mnuchin and whoever disobeys their subpoena with contempt? The contempt order should be passed even if low-Barr's DoJ does not enforce it.

What a terrible time for the American People.. watching the gov't unravel before our eyes.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

"This is becoming a regular event. It's called the circus of Judiciary," said the panel's top Republican, Doug Collins.

Technically speaking the congress of the US is not the "judiciary" arm of the three branches of the US government.

While he has a point about it being a circus, with his president the ring leader, he should be intelligent enough to know the differences. The "Judiciary" of the government most certainly will get involved more in this mess, but right now it's the "Legislative" branch that is trying to do it's "do diligence" in overseeing the "Executive" branch being headed by a man with dementia!

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The redacted, 448-page Mueller report, 22 months in the making, showed how Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Trump's favor and detailed Trump's attempts to impede Mueller's probe.

"Moscow interfered in the 2016 US presidential election in Trump's favor."

Trump's loyal followers, for who knows what reasons, continue to disbelieve this.

And of course Putin continues to deny his nation's role. He and his oligarchs know what a friend they have in Trump. And in Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Mike McCaul and others. Their personal investments Trump nation.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

You get a subpoena! And you! And you! And a subpoena for you too!

Just rememfer the Trumpophile rule: If a judge rules against Donny, that judge is a biased political hack legislating from the bench; but if a judge rules in favor of Don, that judge is merely upholding the constitution.

The enjoyable part about that rule is we can use it against them.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

The only appropriate reply to the Republican whining to come is, "But, you guys!".

The Hillary debacle is still echoing throughout the chambers. Investigations galore. And unlike Trump, they never even found anything! Yet they screamed lock her up. Mueller shows collusion, and provides what multiple lawyers have said is clearly obstruction, and they scream that he is innocent, and that these investigations are a circus. Boo freakin' hoo. This is the political climate they created. All because Bill stuck his willy where he shouldn't have.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

The only good part of this is that, by trying to break the government, people like Trump will inevitably make it stronger. It's just going to be very painful for the rest of us.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

If I were a criminal I'd hide as much as possible.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

the photo says it all when it comes to Trumps people skills....

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Sad. Now a Republican agrees with this impeachment nonsense to protect his family business with China. and next day we are told he will be the one to beat Trump in 2020 not even a Dem.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

mueller actually didn’t show collusion and despite “multiple lawyers” saying obstruction may have happened, the guy with his name on the report declined to clearly say so and left his decision to his boss.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

bird in a cage coming soon.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@blacklab mueller actually didn’t show collusion 

Mueller's report did show: "Moscow interfered in the 2016 US presidential election in Trump's favor."

Trump's loyal followers, for who knows what reasons, continue to disbelieve this.

Many Trump supporters have said they want Trump to undermine US systems. Many believe what Breitbart/Bannon, Qanon and other anti-American, far right groups say.

No wonder so many Trump backers deny Russian interference and believe claims made by Putin and Russian intelligence agencies instead of those made by US intelligence agencies.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@blacklabel and next day we are told 

Who's 'we' and what are you/they told?

Only in the either-or, black-white, binary world of partisan extremists are statements like the above found.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/444835-amash-wont-rule-out-libertarian-challenge-to-trump

we is everyone who has the ability to read the news and what we are being told is that being never Trump and agreeing with impeachment are the only qualifications needed to be president.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

You mean the intelligence agencies run by Clapper and Brennan. Are you still claiming the debunked “17 intelligence agencies” narrative? I will take a pass as Brennan in particular will be lucky if he escapes prison time. Comey and McCabe as well.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

And lastly, it’s not collusion when someone does something on my behalf or to help me that I didn’t ask for.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

the photo says it all when it comes to Trumps people skills....

Roaring economy, record low unemployment, no new wars...

I'll take results over bad photos any day.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Trump, seeking re-election in 2020, is refusing to cooperate with many congressional probes into his administration, his family and his business interests.

Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct....that's the Trump strategy until the election. There's already enough bad info out there on all of his corruption and crimes - can't add any more...

Keep digging to find the truth - focus on Trump or his lawyers telling people to lie while under oath. Then find out what's going on with the money laundering claims at Deutsche Bank - that's the convergence of Russian oligarch money and Trump loans. Remember, both Don Jr and Eric have said the Trump Org gets all it's money from Russia.

Shine a light on all the filth and bring this crime family to justice...

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@blacklabwe is everyone who

Another statement repeating an us-them adversarial relationship, which is to be expected coming from the Qanon, Breitbart/Bannon, Internet Research Agency crowd.

Trump: the divider-in-chief.

Uniting only the far right and others in the US and 'abroad' who want to undermine US democratic systems.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Richard Nixon look like a bouquet of roses compared to Donald Trump and his administration.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Looking at that picture ..... no explanation needed.

"I'm the boss man! I tell ya what to do! "

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@serrano Roaring economy, record low unemployment

For how long? I didn't take an econ course higher than 201 so admit to a limited understanding of economics. But one thing I recall and believe is when the federal government interferes in the economy using measures to boost the economy, especially one that was already solid, we can expect 'corrections' to occur.

no new wars...

But risks of wars increasing each day Trump tweets something stupid, each day his neo-con admin ramps pressures up.

And still the US military is involved in the affairs over 80 foreign nations.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

One thing I give Trump's base is that they really must truly love Trump. More than their own families.

"Don't wanna see his taxes, don't wanna hear anybody testify, don't wanna read the full report, don't wanna hear about how much money Trump lost, and caused others to lose during his career, don't wanna hear about his affairs while Melania was at home nursing his children, don't wanna hear anything. Just wanna see his face and smile cause we are gonna make America great again. Trump 2020, Don Jr. 2024, Ivanka 2032, Trump 4 life!!!"

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Roaring economy, record low unemployment,

Thank you President Obama...of course Donne is wrecking all that now with tariffs and trade wars...

no new wars...

Thank you Generals Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly - of course they have all left the administration because they think Donnie is a moron, idiot, and has the understanding of a fifth grader...

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Thats one telling photo.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Hope worked in the White House for what, about a month, a year into the President's administration? Plus, she's already been interviewed by Mueller's merry of Trump-hating lawyers? Yeah, she'll be a fountain of information.

The democrats' death spiral continues.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Sad. Now a Republican agrees with this impeachment nonsense to protect his family business with China. and next day we are told he will be the one to beat Trump in 2020 not even a Dem.

If it's not to be a Democrat, then at least this guy is willing to call out his leader, placing the people above party, unlike the rest of you hypocritical hyper-partisans who think it's more important to be in power, than it is to get rid of a corrupt leader. You've sold your souls. This guy hasn't.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Roaring economy, record low unemployment, no new wars...

Are they actual facts or "alternate" facts??

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

DoJ just tried to reach a deal with to House: Drop demands for Barr's testimony in exchange for an unredacted Mueller report. That was a major card to play - Barr must know some important stuff. But whatever Barr's morals, he' not stupid. He's seen what happened to Cohen and will ensure he avoids the same fate.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

DoJ just tried to reach a deal with to House: Drop demands for Barr's testimony in exchange for an unredacted Mueller report.

Daaaaaaaaaamn. Tempting offer.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

...but my initial thought is that they should go for both. Unredacted report and Barr's testimony.

His knees have obviously become a little weak. Resolve can only go so far.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Blow Nadler off and let him take them to court, good luck. By the way, do Democrats have any policies going forward or any of the candidates instead of beating a dead horse and slowing grilling their political fate?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

DoJ just tried to reach a deal with to House: Drop demands for Barr's testimony in exchange for an unredacted Mueller report -- comment

Um, you do realize releasing fully *unredacted** *report includes GJ testimonies, which is a federal crime. AG Barr is going to break the law just to curry favor from either Nadler or serial liar/leaker Adam Schiff.

This sounds more like a fantasy cooked up by one of the gold standards of truthful U.S. "news" organizations: the NY Slimes, the Washington Compost, CNN, or MSLSD.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

As soon as Barr gives them what they are asking for they will try to indict him for the crime of actually giving them what they asked for.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Um, you do realize releasing fully *unredacted** *report includes GJ testimonies, which is a federal crime. AG Barr is going to break the law just to curry favor from either Nadler or serial liar/leaker Adam Schiff.

Or

"don't release the criminal information don't release the criminal information don't release the criminal information don't release the criminal information don't release the criminal information don't release the criminal information don't release the criminal information don't release the criminal information "

It's funny you call Adam Schiff a serial liar...Lets check Trump's score, he's winning!

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/statements/byruling/false/

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It remains clear that Trump had something to hide. It seems exceedingly likely that he attempted to obstruct justice.

His hangers on, both past and present know that it is too dangerous to try and lie under oath to protect their master - they've seen what happened to Cohen.

Instead they must avoid testifying to avoid either incriminating themselves or Donald.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Blacklabel,

AG Barr is not a democrat; meaning he's not that dumb. He will not release a fully unredacted report -- complete with Grand Jury testimonies -- because he knows the law that was put into place/voted for by Nadler himself after the Starr Report's release in the 1990s. You have to be a specia kind of stupid to believe otherwise. Watch for more liberal tears and screaming helplessly at the sky when they realize their "news" outlets that have been lying to them for the past two-three years remains consistent.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

liberals will suddenly be against document release late next week when all the FISA docs are declassified. It’s a threat to our Democracy to know that people were illegal spied upon they will say.

Sources and methods! Etc then right back to wanting transparency for everything but docs that jail Dems.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Blacklabel,

Yeah, also waiting for the FISA docs to drop. None of the radical left "news" outlets are talking about any of this, but notice the circular firing squad now taking place among the democrats: Lynch vs. Comey, Brennen vs. Comey, Brennen vs. Clapper, etc.

Buy stock in Jolly Time popcorn before the curtain rises on Act II of the Russian Collusion saga. Things are about to get veeeery interesting.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

liberals will suddenly be against document release late next week when all the FISA docs are declassified.

Why would we be? Unlike hyperpartisans on your team, we're interested in truth and justice. If the FISA docs show something illegal, then people should be prosecuted.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Every single Trump speculation has its own article. Any documents that show liberals lies not even mentioned.

What do you think about Lynch testifying that Comey lied to Congress when he said she told him to call the investigation a “matter”. Doesn’t Comey go to jail for lying now? Should he be prosecuted as part of your truth and justice crusade?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I'm no fan of trump but are they ever actually going to produce hard evidence of what it is they're trying to prove?

what use is a subpoena, witness testimony is widely known to be the least reliable form of evidence in legal cases.

if they have hard proof i'd like it to be put out there, enough of this circus from both sides.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm no fan of trump but are they ever actually going to produce hard evidence of what it is they're trying to prove?

Um, the Mueller report? You know, that report that took two years, and lays out Trump's criminal activity?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

They don’t have any proof so need people to speak. so that the words can be represented to means something they don’t.

why is mueller refusing to testify or publicly speak? He knows what will be done with his words and knows there is no evidence to support what others will claim he is really saying.

i saw 3 “new” articles yesterday saying “Cohen said....”. Cohen didn’t say jack, he’s in prison for lying.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

They don’t have any proof so need people to speak.

Yes we do, the Mueller report that clearly shows Trump obstructed justices.

why is mueller refusing to testify or publicly speak? He knows what will be done with his words and knows there is no evidence to support what others will claim he is really saying.

Mueller has already spoken, but Trump has masterfully maneuvered someone in place to block Mueller's words. Trump is great at preventing the people from prosecuting him for his crimes.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

More BS from Democrats as usual.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Total BS. Mueller said no such thing. If he did why is he refusing to go in front of the Congress and the American people and clear up how his report was represented?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Total BS. Mueller said no such thing. If he did why is he refusing to go in front of the Congress and the American people and clear up how his report was represented?

Ask him.

Regardless, he did a two year investigation, and laid out his findings. He has clearly stated his thoughts.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I don’t have to ask him. His silence indicates agreement with how his report was portrayed. No collusion, no obstruction, no more indictments. “That’s all folks!”

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

why is mueller refusing to testify

He's not. He's negotiating the formatcso as not to appear political. That tanks your assertion here and your conspiracy that he's biased.

or publicly speak?

He's professional, unlike your boy Donny. I know you all would prefer everyone just mouth off on twitter, but that's really not how professionals operate.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As soon as Barr gives them what they are asking for they will try to indict him for the crime of actually giving them what they asked for.

Hilarious conspiracy theory.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

mueller actually didn’t show collusion

Never mind all the contacts between Donny's people and Russians that mueller detailed.

and despite “multiple lawyers” saying obstruction may have happened, the guy with his name on the report declined to clearly say so and left his decision to his boss.

Never mind that Mueller left it up to congress.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

why would Mueller need to negotiate conditions to speak? What does he have to hide? Show up, be transparent and answer the questions he is asked truthfully, right?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Mueller did not leave it up to Congress, he left it up to his boss, Barr.

there was no requirement that this report he released to the public OR congress.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

why would Mueller need to negotiate conditions to speak? What does he have to hide? Show up, be transparent and answer the questions he is asked truthfully, right?

Dang straight, just look at how cooperative and transparent Trump is - never exerting Executive Privilege, turning over all his tax records and files, allowing McGhan and Hicks to testify....he's not hiding anything....

Mueller did not leave it up to Congress, he left it up to his boss, Barr.

You know, Rudy Jr...

there was no requirement that this report he released to the public OR congress.

The person below disagrees with you,,,,

Answering questions from reporters on the South Lawn of the White House prior to traveling to Ohio on Wednesday, Trump said of Mueller's report, "Let it come out. Let people see it...

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/20/705162788/trump-backs-public-release-of-mueller-report

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The mueller report IS out. Been out for weeks. You guys talk in circles. Trump people already testified to Mueller and answered Congress questions once. Mueller has never shown up once, what’s he hiding?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

until mueller does show up liberals will continue to talk in circles. Just keep saying the meaning of the report is not what it actually says. That’s the goal I guess.

We continue to see the obvious. No collusion, obstruction or indictments. Mueller is free to go on CNN and dispute his own report any time he likes. Until then what his boss said the result is stands.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

“Some Democrats, however, appear wary of subpoenaing the special counsel for public testimony.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), a Judiciary member, declined to say whether he supported subpoenaing Mueller and added that he’s open to hearing arguments for Mueller to testify privately.”

another private testimony so they Dems can then claim he said something he didn’t? Why won’t Dems subpoena him to clear this up?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

another private testimony so they Dems can then claim he said something he didn’t? Why won’t Dems subpoena him to clear this up?

Why doesn't Trump or Barr just direct Mueller to testify? More importantly, why is Trump refusing to let McGhan or Hicks testify? Why is Trump refusing to hand over documents requested by Congress?

It's going to be so sweet to watch Trumpers head's explode when Mueller shows up and testifies that Trump obstructed justice on at least 10 times, and that he was told not to indict and leave that decision to the AG.

I hope Fox News takes a Trump-Biden poll after Mueller's testimony - Joe will double his current 10 point advantage. Even DeBlasio will be ahead of Trump.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mueller can testify any time he likes. He won’t. That says that he feels his report is sufficient was represented correctly.

Hicks and Mcghan already talked to Mueller. Did he forget to indict them or something?

What was the point of mueller and 22 months and 18 lawyers if congress just plans to talk to each person again one by one?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Mueller can testify any time he likes. He won’t. That says that he feels his report is sufficient was represented correctly

Utterly incorrect. He's negotiating to testify.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mueller did not leave it up to Congress, he left it up to his boss, Barr

“The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

Barr is not spelled C.o.n.g.r.e.s.s.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

Going to be difficult to do especially if a crime wasn’t committed.

Barr is not spelled C.o.n.g.r.e.s.s.

Congress has about an 18% approval. God, I hope they impeach him, that would be the best thing for Trump and we can all use the laugh.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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