No matter how many times the Trump team tries to evade scrutiny, House Democrats continue to press on with their investigative efforts. Now, they’ve targeted yet another longtime associate of the president with a subpoena. This Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for testimony from one-time Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowki as part of that panel’s probe into apparent presidential obstruction of justice. The idea is that Lewandowski could provide some insight into Trump’s documented efforts to derail the Russia investigation that he was recruited to try and help with.
The Judiciary panel has said that its ongoing investigation has an endgame of deciding whether articles of impeachment against Trump are warranted.
Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler asserted, noting a second individual who’s spent a long time in Trump’s orbit and was also subpoenaed this Thursday:
‘It is clear that any other American would have been prosecuted based on the evidence Special Counsel Mueller uncovered in his report. 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.’
It’s unclear what kind of path forward there might be for the panel’s efforts to obtain testimony from Lewandowski and Dearborn. Lewandowski has offered Congressional testimony before, but at that time, when speaking to the House Intelligence Committee in 2018, he did not answer any questions about anything after the 2016 election. Well after the election though, the president unsuccessfully tried to get Lewandowski to pressure then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of the Russia investigation.
Only one subpoenaed Trump official has shown up for questioning so far — and even when that former official Hope Hicks did show up, she answered close to absolutely nothing about her time in the White House. The Trump team has long proven its attachment to using the concept of executive privilege to try and keep investigators from getting “too close” to the president. Having dispatched a legal team to sit with Hicks during her testimony, they raised that objection in this case — and are reportedly considering trying to use it to block testimony from Lewandowski, although he never worked in the White House. He’s always been just a private citizen during his interactions with Trump.
Besides Hicks, Lewandowski, and Dearborn, the Judiciary Committee has also sought testimony from former Trump officials like former White House counsel Don McGahn, who they recently brought a lawsuit against to try and compel testimony after he defied a subpoena.
Although they don’t constitute a majority of the House as a whole, at this point, a majority of House Democrats have expressed explicit support for impeaching Trump, although this effort would likely not culminate in actually removing him from office since the GOP remains the majority party in the U.S. Senate. Still, launching the impeachment proceedings could provide a high-profile means for House Democrats to denounce the president’s behavior and put it in its place as out of step with basic standards for American politics.
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