News ID: 253215
Published: 0430 GMT May 22, 2019

US House panel subpoenas more Trump ex-aides

US House panel subpoenas more Trump ex-aides

Democrats in the US House of Representatives have subpoenaed two more former aides of President Donald Trump, just hours after former White House Counsel Donald McGahn refused to appear for testimony before a congressional committee at Trump’s request.

House Judiciary Committee announced on Tuesday he had issued fresh subpoenas to Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director, and to Annie Donaldson, McGahn’s former chief of staff, Presstv Reported.

The subpoenas seek testimony and documents in connection with the committee’s probe of whether Trump obstructed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election and collusion between Trump’s election campaign and Moscow.

The row between Trump and Democrats intensified after McGahn, following Trump’s instructions, ignored a subpoena from the Judiciary Committee and did not show up to testify before the panel.

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

In Mueller’s investigative report, McGahn was a key witness regarding possible obstruction of justice by Trump. Legal experts 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.

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.

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 initiating the impeachment process,against Trump.

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

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

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.



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