Four White House officials, including the top aide to White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, wont testify in the impeachment inquiry on Monday.
The White House had directed officials not to comply with the inquiry because of executive privilege.
Robert Blair, assistant to President Donald Trump and senior adviser to Mulvaney, wont appear “pursuant to direction from the White House, which is based on advice from the Department of Justice,” his attorney, Whit Ellerman, told Politico.
Blair wouldnt appear even if he was subpoenaed, Ellerman said. The “direction from the White House and advice from DOJ cover subpoena.”
Three other White House aides were summoned to testify on Monday but werent going to participate.
Brian McCormack, associate director for natural resources energy and science at the Office of Management and Budget, declined to appear to answer questions in a closed-door hearing.
The other two aides slated to testify—John Eisenberg, deputy counsel to the president for National Security Affairs, and Michael Ellis, senior associate counsel to the president—also werent going to appear.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to William Burck, Eisenbergs attorney, over the weekend that the Department of Justice advised him that Eisenberg was “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters related to his service as a senior adviser to the President.” In another letter, Burck notified House Democrats on Monday that his client wouldnt be appearing, noting the subpoena issued to try to force Eisenberg to appear didnt come until Friday.
“Even if Mr. Eisenberg had been afforded a reasonable amount of time to prepare, the President has instructed Mr. Eisenberg not to appear at the deposition,” Burck wrote.
Two other officials, Michael Duffey and Russel Vought, both of the Office of Management and Budget, were also not going to appear for depositions scheduled by House Democrats later this week, a source told CNN.
A former aide, Charles Kupperman, has asked a federal judge to rule whether he should obey Trumps direction or comply with House Democrat efforts.
The judge set a trial date for Dec. 10 and pushed back when a Department of Justice lawyer asked for more time to file briefs because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“When its a matter of this consequence to this country you roll your sleeves up and get the job done,” Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, a President George W. Bush appointee, told her on Oct. 31.
Other officials have testified in the inquiry.
Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council director for European affairs, told lawmakers that he was concerned about Trumps phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried aRead More – Source