White House directs Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson to ignore House subpoenas
Tuesday was the deadline for Hicks and Donaldson to turn over documents, though the deadline for testimony and deposition falls later this month.
WASHINGTON — The White House has directed former Trump administration officials Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson not to hand over any documents to the House Judiciary Committee related to their time at the White House, two sources told NBC News on Tuesday.
It's the latest in a bitter back-and-forth between the White House and Capitol Hill, with the Trump administration blocking a number of congressional oversight requests by Democrats for interviews and documents from current and former aides.
An attorney for Hicks told the committee Tuesday that she would turn over some documents that lawmakers had requested from her time on the Trump campaign.
In a statement, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the White House “has no lawful basis for preventing these witnesses from complying with our request."
“We will continue to seek reasonable accommodation on these and all our discovery requests and intend to press these issues when we obtain the testimony of both Ms. Hicks and Ms. Donaldson,” he said.
Hicks served as White House communications director, while Donaldson was chief of staff to then-White House counsel Don McGahn, who has also rejected a congressional subpoena to testify publicly at Trump's instruction. Hicks has testified before the House Intelligence Committee, in February 2018, about her time on the campaign.
The subpoenas, issued last month, sought testimony and documents related to the panel's investigation into obstruction of justice, corruption and other potential abuses of power by Trump and members of his administration. Tuesday was the deadline for Hicks and Donaldson to turn over documents, though the deadline for testimony and deposition falls later this month.
Nadler's subpoena called for Hicks to testify before his committee on June 19, and for Donaldson to appear for a deposition on June 24.
As the White House seeks to further block Democrats' oversight efforts, Democrats are ramping up their investigations on Capitol Hill. Next week, for example, the full House is set to vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt.
Also next week, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the 448-page Mueller report and "presidential obstruction." Former White House counsel John Dean, a key figure in the Watergate hearings that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation, is slated to testify.
Nearly a quarter of the House Democratic Caucus, meanwhile, has voiced support for initiating an impeachment inquiry against Trump. Many lawmakers within that group have said the administration has pushed them over the edge because of its obstruction. A number signed on last week after former special counsel Robert Mueller spoke publicly for the first time about the Russia investigation. Half of the Judiciary panel, which has the power to impeach, are in favor of opening an impeachment inquiry.