Aug 15, 2019

News I White House: House Dems subpoena Corey Lewandowski, Rick Dearborn in ongoing Trump obstruction probe


Corey Lewandowski
Corey Lewandowski is the first of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s most significant witnesses who had no formal role in the White House to be served with a subpoena by the Judiciary Committee. | Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday subpoenaed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former top White House aide Rick Dearborn for details about their knowledge of potential obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.
The subpoenas — which demand public testimony, according to a committee aide — come on the same day Lewandowski intends to appear alongside Trump at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, where Lewandowski has begun to openly consider a Senate campaign.
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Lewandowski is also the first of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s most significant witnesses who had no formal role in the White House to be served with a subpoena by the Judiciary Committee as it considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment. That subpoena in particular will test the president’s ability to block him from cooperating, as he has with most other witnesses subpoenaed by Congress.
In one of Mueller’s most damning findings, Lewandowski described to him a directive from Trump that he tell then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he must constrain Mueller’s investigation or be fired. Lewandowski, at one point, asked Dearborn to deliver the message to Sessions instead, but Dearborn ultimately refused.
In a second episode, according to the special counsel’s report, the president again asked Lewandowski to pressure Sessions to limit Mueller’s scope to future election interference attempts.
“Corey Lewandowski and Rick Dearborn were prominently featured in the special counsel’s description of President Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice by directing then-White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire the special counsel, and then by ordering him to lie about it,” Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
The subpoenas, which require their testimony on Sept. 17, also come as the Judiciary Committee is intensifying its public posture on impeachment, making clear in recent court filings that it is actively considering whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the president.
“This will help the committee determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the president or other Article 1 remedies,” Nadler added. “No one is above the law.”
Some Democrats had privately been pressing to subpoena Lewandowski sooner because his lack of a formal White House role would make him less susceptible to efforts by the Trump White House to stonewall the committee’s demands.
The White House has already asserted claims that former top aides to the president — including former White House counsel Don McGahn and former communications director Hope Hicks — are “absolutely immune” from testifying before Congress. The White House also directed McGahn’s former deputy Annie Donaldson to refuse to answer the committee’s questions that centered on her White House tenure — specifically, her knowledge of potential obstruction by Trump.
The Judiciary Committee filed suit last week against McGahn, Mueller’s star witness, to compel his testimony about Trump’s efforts to interfere with or otherwise constrain the Mueller investigation.
Lewandowski’s appearance at Trump’s rally follows a rash of concern among New Hampshire Republicans that a Trump-backed Senate bid by such a polarizing figure could jeopardize GOP chances to defeat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
The subpoena — a reminder both of Lewandowski’s full cooperation with Mueller and his centrality to the obstruction case against Trump — is sure to add to New Hampshire Republicans’ worries.

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