Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York wants Hicks, the former White House communications director, and Donaldson, who was deputy to former White House counsel Don McGahn, to undergo questioning in his panel’s efforts to pursue findings by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concerning 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 aggressive move by Nadler came just hours after McGahn defied a committee subpoena for his testimony, refusing to attend a scheduled Judiciary hearing at the direction of the White House.
Nadler said after McGahn’s failure to show up that his committee will fight the White House’s assertion of immunity and obtain McGahn’s testimony, ‘even if we have to go to court to secure it.’
Hicks, who was subpoenaed to testify on June 24, had been one of Trump’s longest-serving and most trusted advisers. She left the White House last year and is now chief communications officer for Fox Corp., owner of Trump’s favorite cable news channel.
According to Mueller’s report, Trump asked Hicks to keep quiet about potentially damaging emails sent by his son, Donald Trump Jr. Hicks, who was interviewed by Mueller’s team, also helped prepare a misleading statement about the purpose of a 2016 meeting by Trump Jr. and other advisers at Trump Tower with Russians who promised to offer political dirt on Democrat Hillary Clinton.
As McGahn’s chief of staff, Donaldson had a close-up view of how the attorney handled Trump’s demands and any alleged misconduct. Her notes are cited extensively in Mueller’s report.
In March 2017, when then-FBI Director James Comey briefed congressional leaders on the investigation into Russian election interference, Donaldson said in a note, “POTUS in panic/chaos … Need binders to put in front of POTUS. (1) All things related to Russia.’
In June 2017, Donaldson was a witness to McGahn’s threat to resign after Trump ordered him to have Mueller fired. McGahn didn’t carry out that order.
McGahn had been the first former White House employee to receive a subpoena for congressional testimony since the public release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report.
But Trump since has declared that his administration will fight “all the subpoenas.”
In addition to Nadler’s latest subpoenas, which were authorized by the Judiciary Committee on April 3, other potential legal showdowns loom in his committee’s investigation of Trump, his finances and whether he tried to obstruct justice.
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