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A Look At Trump’s Escalating Efforts To Hamper House Investigations

April 25, 2019 11:31 a.m.

The White House has escalated its efforts to hinder congressional oversight since the release of the Mueller report, and the obstruction has now spread to another executive branch agency: the Justice Department.

The fact that the contagion is spreading seemed to particularly irk House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, who declared that even after ordering that White House officials “defy lawful subpoenas from Congress” the “Trump Administration went even further by expanding this policy to employees at federal agencies — even when the subpoenas are bipartisan and supported by Republican Members of Congress.”

This has been building for months. Even before administration officials began refusing to comply with Congress’ requests for documents or testimony, they took a broad view of executive privilege — claiming that they needed to avoid certain topics should Trump choose to assert privilege on that topic in the future. Yet, President Trump has ramped up efforts to push back on congressional oversight in the past few weeks.

Here’s a list of all the people and entities that Trump and his administration have told to resist Congress:

  • DOJ official John Gore, who was involved in the decision-making process to add a citizenship question to the census, was ordered by the Trump administration not to comply with the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena, ostensibly because the committee refuses to let a DOJ attorney sit in during the deposition and advise Gore on “maintaining confidentiality interest of the executive branch.”
  • Former White House official Carl Kline, who ran the office that issued security clearances and who allegedly retaliated against a whistleblower, was ordered by the Trump administration not to comply with the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena — in this case as well, unless a White House lawyer attends.
  • The Trump administration plans to fight the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena of former White House counsel Don McGahn, as well as any other oversight requests related to the issues covered in the Mueller report.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has stalled on the House Ways and Means Committee’s request for Trump’s tax returns and hinted that the administration is not inclined to turn them over, all as Trump’s personal attorney pressures the Treasury Department not to turn them over.
  •  Trump’s personal attorneys have also urged Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm, not to comply with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee and filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking the subpoena.
  • The White House rejected the House Oversight Committee’s request that White House adviser Stephen Miller come before the committee to testify about immigration policy.
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