President Donald Trump and his so-called “legal team” thought they had it all figured out. They would tell current and former White House aides not to give any information to congressional investigators and those aides would comply with that request. And that strategy worked. Until today.
Former top White House aide Hope Hicks was subpoenaed for documents relevant to ongoing investigations being conducted by several House committees. Once again, the administration directed Hicks not to cooperate, according to CNN:
“White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to the committee stating that White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had directed Hicks and Donaldson, the former deputy White House counsel, not to turn over the documents.
“‘Those documents include White House records that remain legally protected from disclosure under longstanding constitutional principles, because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege,’ Cipollone writes in the letter, which was obtained by CNN.”
Later in the afternoon, however, Hicks relented and agreed to hand over potentially damaging documents from her time on the Trump 2016 campaign to the House Judiciary Committee, Reuters reports:
“House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Hicks, the Trump campaign’s former press secretary, would provide ‘some documents’ relating to the campaign.
“’I thank her for that show of good faith,’ Nadler said in a statement that also blasted what he called Trump’s ‘continued obstruction of Congress.'”
The documents Hicks gave to the committee likely pertain to the infamous June 2016 meeting held at Trump Tower where three members of Trump’s campaign — Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort — met with a Russian attorney and former Russian intelligence agent who promised to bring “dirt” they had on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. And that alone could be proof that Donald Trump knew of the larger plot to get Russian assistance with his campaign.
Today’s development is very bad news for Trump, if only because it proves that some former members of his inner circle are willing to save their own hides rather than remain loyal to a man who would throw them under the bus in a second.
The wall of silence Trump was constructing has been breached. And that could wind up leading to his removal from office.