The House Judiciary Committee is considering whether to recommend impeaching Trump at a hearing on Tuesday, and the President has directed two of his former aides not to comply with their subpoenas.
The committee is seeking testimony to explore whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice during the Mueller investigation. According to Reuters, Rick Dearborn, former White House Deputy Chief, and Rob Porter, former White House Staff Secretary, were instructed not to testify.
The House Judiciary Comm. is holding a hearing at 1pm on "Presidential Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power." The White House/DOJ blocked former WH aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter from testifying, and limited what former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski can say pic.twitter.com/gC62tNnspQ
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) September 17, 2019
The committee’s chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) received a letter from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone that stated, “The President has directed Mr. Dearborn and Mr. Porter not to appear at the hearing.”
Cipollone claims that the former Trump staff members are “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony” due to a Justice Department determination.
Nadler called the President’s action a “shocking and dangerous assertion of executive privilege and absolute immunity.” Nadler added:
“If he were to prevail in this cover-up while the Judiciary Committee is considering whether to recommend articles of impeachment, he would upend the separation of powers as envisioned by our founders.”
The House Judiciary Committee is investigating an incident described in the Mueller report that claims Trump attempted to steer the Russia probe away from looking at his 2016 campaign by putting pressure on former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
This particular incident is only one of several incidents in the report that could be viewed as obstruction of justice. House Democrats want to more aggressively question some of the witnesses. This new investigation will help them decide if they want to put a recommendation for articles of impeachment before the full House.