Next On House Subpoena List: Former White House Aide Rob Porter

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Wochit News / YouTube Trump  s Defends Rob Porter...
Wochit News / YouTube

The House Judiciary Committee is planning to subpoena former White House staff secretary Rob Porter in its investigation into Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice (which potentially is or isn’t an impeachment inquiry). The committee is expected to announce the subpoena Monday which asks for Porter to testify in a public hearing in September.  Porter’s subpoena will be the sixth issued to officials close to the President in the wake of the release of the Mueller report by Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler.  As part of this investigation, the committee has been authorized to issue subpoenas to 17 individuals in total.

Former White House counsel Don McGahn was served but refused to comply with his Congressional subpoena while the White House supported him by asserting that he had ‘executive immunity‘ from testifying before Congress.  McGahn’s assistant Annie Donaldson responded to written questions and is expected to testify before the Committee in November.   Hope Hicks testified in June, although it was behind closed doors.  Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn were both subpoenaed earlier this month, and both will reportedly try and resist their subpoenas.  It appears that the White House will support their resistance by claiming executive privilege, even for Lewandowski, who never worked in the White House.

Despite the disappointing track record, Porter may offer the most interesting of all potential testimonies.  His notes from his time in the White House were repeatedly cited in the Mueller report’s obstruction of justice section, and suggest that he was not exactly a Trump loyalist:

Porter was also sandwiched between an angry President and McGahn, according to the report, after McGahn refused to refute an article published by the New York Times that alleged the President had asked McGahn to fire the special counsel. McGahn had not only refused, but threatened to resign, according to the report. Trump had told Porter that the article was “bullsh**” and insisted to Porter that he tell McGahn to write a letter for the public file stating he had never asked McGahn to fire the special counsel. He told Porter that if McGahn did not do as directed “then maybe I will get rid of him.”

(cnn.com)

Porter also did not, as directed by Trump, reach out to Justice Department official Rachel Brand about taking over supervision of the Mueller investigation “because he was sensitive to the implications of that action and did not want to be involved in a chain of events associated with an effort to end the investigation or fire the special counsel.”

Sounds a lot like Porter knew exactly what Trump was trying to do (obstruct justice!!) and just didn’t want anything to do with it!!

During his time at the White House, Porter also developed a close relationship with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump but also attempted to put a stop to many of Trump’s policy objectives.   These little tidbits make any potential testimony from Porter — should it be “allowed” to happen — a pretty significant risk to the White House and its’ current tenant.

 

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