The White House ordered two former aides to Donald Trump, Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter, to defy congressional subpoenas and not testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Yahoo News reports. The hearing is being described as the first official hearing into the eventual, possible impeachment of Donald Trump.
Dearborn, Porter, and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski were all scheduled to appear before the committee on Tuesday. However, only Lewandowski, who never worked within the Trump White House once he was inaugurated, is expected to testify. The other two men have been given direct orders not to appear.
Specifically, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote a letter to the committee saying that the Justice Department has advised the administration that Dearborn and Porter have “constitutional immunity” and cannot be compelled to testify. Donald Trump, with the apparent permission of the Justice Department, has instructed the men not to testify. Lawyers for both men say that they will obey Trump’s orders and not testify.
As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, Rick Dearborn was apparently fired around Christmas 2017, purportedly because he didn’t get his boss a Christmas gift. Porter resigned as White House Staff Secretary on February 7, 2018, after two of his ex-wives publicly accused him of abusing them.
The House Judiciary Committee, led by New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, has promised an “aggressive” series of hearings, with a view towards looking into whether or not the Trump administration committed any impeachable offenses.
Although the House of Representatives has voted on impeachment three times, each vote having failed, Nadler has promised that his committee will thoroughly investigate the Trump administration, present the evidence, and then hold a vote on impeachment, once every stone has been un-turned in his investigation.
However, the Trump administration has stymied the committee’s efforts, refusing to supply documents and blocking witnesses from testifying. In at least one case, that of former White House counsel Don McGahn, the committee is attempting to get a court to intervene. House Democrats have sued McGahn, arguing that his claim of “constitutional immunity” does not exist.
In a statement, Nadler called Trump’s efforts at stifling the investigation “criminal.”
“The President would have us believe that he can willfully engage in criminal activity and prevent witnesses from testifying before Congress — even if they did not actually work for him or his administration,” he said.
As for Lewandowski, the committee is largely interested in whether or not his boss, Trump, specifically instructed him to ask then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “limit” the Mueller investigation into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russian agents. According to the Mueller Report, Lewandowski did not speak to Sessions directly, but instead asked Dearborn to do it.