As the impeachment inquiry kicks into full gear, the Trump administration seems to think it can wiggle itself out of this jam by simply forbidding all of its members from complying with subpoenas from the House committees investigating the President and his team’s efforts to bully the Ukranian government into giving or manufacturing dirt on his political opponents.
From Saturday to Monday, four Trump admin officials announced their refusal to testify. National Security Council lawyers John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis joined assistant to the president Robert Blair and Office of Management and Budget associate director Brian McCormack in refusing to tell their side of the story. Blair’s attorney gave the excuse of “direction from the White House” in explaining their absence to POLITICO.
On Monday, the President explained his rationale on Twitter by simply proclaiming there was “no need” for witnesses to analyze the “words and meaning” in his now infamous conversation with Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
What I said on the phone call with the Ukrainian President is “perfectly” stated. There is no reason to call witnesses to analyze my words and meaning. This is just another Democrat Hoax that I have had to live with from the day I got elected (and before!). Disgraceful!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2019
The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) disagrees with that “logic” and held a press conference in order to warn the President and his cronies that all their obstruction and refusals will accomplish nothing but dig themselves into a deeper hole.
NEW: Rep. Adam Schiff says the White House officials who have "defied congressional subpoenas and refused to appear" for depositions will "further add to the body of evidence on a potential obstruction of Congress charge against the president." https://t.co/MC1IDhEAh5 pic.twitter.com/bSXn5iYjr0
— ABC News (@ABC) November 4, 2019
Refusing to comply with everything that Congress asks does not exactly paint a portrait of innocence on the part of the Trump team, and defying subpoenas could open them up to even more legal trouble than they’re already in. The law is squarely on the side of the Democrats, who will see justice be done. If Trump wants to play hardball, Schiff says “bring it on!”