President Donald Trump poses for a photo with former communications director Hope Hicks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 29, 2018. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

White House directs Hope Hicks, Annie Donaldson not to turn over documents

WASHINGTON — The White House is seeking to bar two more former aides to President Donald Trump — Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson — from providing a congressional committee with documents, according to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

“The president has no lawful basis for preventing these witnesses from complying with our request,” the New York Democrat said in a statement Tuesday. “We will continue to seek reasonable accommodation on these and all our discovery requests and intend to press these issues when we obtain the testimony of both Ms. Hicks and Ms. Donaldson.”

Hicks, the former White House communications director, and Donaldson, who was chief of staff to former White House counsel Don McGahn, had been subpoenaed by Nadler to turn over the material by Tuesday.

Hicks turned over some documents she had concerning her time with Trump’s presidential campaign, Nadler said.

But as previously with McGahn and others, the White House has directed Hicks and Donaldson to refuse to comply with requests for information related to their time in the White House, saying it gets the final say on what materials can be shared.

Such instances of resistance to congressional subpoenas by former and current Trump administration officials have been stacking up — led by Attorney General William Barr.

But Democrats plan to hold a full House vote next week to hold Barr in contempt over his refusal to provide lawmakers with special counsel Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report and underlying materials. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the June 11 action also would hold McGahn in contempt for refusing to turn over documents and testimony related to several incidents that Mueller probed for possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

Trump has taken a no-cooperation stance toward investigations in the Democratic-controlled House, saying they’re partisan efforts to prevent him from winning re-election next year. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” the president said in April.

The White House resistance to congressional investigations also has fed demands from some Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump despite resistance from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who argues that the move would backfire politically.

Nadler’s subpoenas to Hicks and Donaldson sought documents that they or their lawyers might have relevant to Mueller’s now-completed investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, or to the committee’s own probe into obstruction of justice, corruption or other alleged abuses of power by Trump, his associates and aides.

Hicks, who was also subpoenaed to testify on June 19, had been one of Trump’s longest-serving and most trusted advisers. She left the White House last year and is now chief communications officer for Fox Corp., owner of Trump’s favorite cable news channel.

Donaldson, as McGahn’s chief of staff, had a close-up view of how the attorney handled Trump’s demands and any alleged misconduct. Her notes are cited extensively in Mueller’s redacted report. Along with the demand for documents, she was subpoenaed to testify on June 24.

Nadler said last month that his committee was prepared to do whatever was necessary to makes McGahn comply with the panel’s requests for documents and testimony after McGahn snubbed a scheduled appearance to testify under subpoena May 21, “even if we have to go to court to secure it.”

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