House Democrats subpoena former White House communications director Hope Hicks – USA TODAY
Former White House communications director Hope Hicks, who was once one of President Donald Trump’s most trusted advisers, was subpoenaed Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee — the latest move in growing tensions between the White House and House Democrats.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, issued subpoenas to Hicks and Annie Donaldson, former White House deputy counsel and a top aide to former White House counsel Don McGahn, as part of the committee’s investigation into possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
“I have issued these subpoenas today to two critical witnesses who have worked closely with the President,” Nadler said in a statement. “We are seeking the information in order to conduct proper oversight, consider potential legislation and perform our constitutional duties.”
The subpoenas come the same day McGahn defied a subpoena to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. The White House on Monday directed the panel to a legal opinion from the Justice Department that said he could not be forced to appear before Congress.
The committee earlier this month also voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt after he refused to hand over the unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and its underlying evidence.
Hicks left the White House in March 2018. In October 2018, it was announced that Hicks would be chief communications officer and executive vice president of Fox Corporation. She began in her new position earlier this year.
Donaldson, who was former chief of staff for McGahn, was tasked with documenting daily conversations and meetings, including Trump’s outrage once former FBI Director James Comey confirmed the existence of the Russia investigation and Trump’s push to get Mueller removed as special counsel, according to the Washington Post.
President Trump’s executive privilege claim over the full Mueller report has stirred heated debate in Congress. Is it even constitutional?
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According to the subpoenas, Nadler is seeking all documents or communications the two have in their possession relating to Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The documents must be turned over by June 4.
Hicks is subpoenaed to testify before the committee on June 19, while Donaldson’s testimony is set for June 24 in her subpoena. It is unclear whether the White House will seek to block their testimony and production of documents on the basis of executive privilege as it has done with McGahn.
Trump earlier this month asserted executive privilege over the unredacted version of Mueller’s 448-page report after House Democrats sought to subpoena it from the Justice Department. The battle over executive privilege will likely end up in the courts..
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