As the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump proceeds, we're beginning to learn who will and who won't honor their congressional summons from the House of Representatives. The White House told many to skip their testimony or President Donald Trump proclaimed executive privilege.
So far, two women have largely defied White House orders to ignore the constitutional impeachment process and testified. Former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch—a career member of the senior foreign service who served as an ambassador under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama—shocked some, but earned accolades from many for showing up for her testimony.
On Monday, former White House aide specializing in Russia and European affairs, Fiona Hill, appeared for a deposition before a House committee as part of the impeachment inquiry.
But according to documents shared by congressional correspondent for The New York Times Nicholas Fandos, the Trump administration tried to block her from appearing.
"It appears the WH and lawyers for Fiona Hill had a full back-and-forth about potential privilege issues with her testimony in the run-up to today."
It appears the WH and lawyers for Fiona Hill had a full back-and-forth about potential privilege issues with her te… https://t.co/ay3hAyMos9— Nicholas Fandos (@Nicholas Fandos) 1571101080.0
The New York Times correspondent added:
"And here is the response from Hill's lawyer, Lee Wolosky: 'We also understand that executive privilege likely does not apply to information which is no longer confidential and has come within the sphere of public knowledge through broad disclosures'."
And here is the response from Hill's lawyer, Lee Wolosky: "We also understand that executive privilege likely doe… https://t.co/687JFrwloe— Nicholas Fandos (@Nicholas Fandos) 1571101207.0
The letter lays out all of the Trump administration's claims that Executive Privilege is a viable reason for silencing Hill's testimony...then promptly shuts them down.
@npfandos Every witness called to testify should just have their lawyers copy and submit this letter to the White H… https://t.co/DkCESGKiQZ— Only The Truth (@Only The Truth) 1571120058.0
@npfandos A letter written by grownups! How refreshing.— WintryMixALot (@WintryMixALot) 1571103024.0
With release of the documents, people began to dissect the claims and justification for blocking testimony offered by Trump's lawyers.
People found it lacking.
@npfandos @Susan_Hennessey It's notable here that the first footnote, tied to an argument put forward by George Was… https://t.co/MKr7k4KJ1T— Josh Marshall (@Josh Marshall) 1571101320.0
@joshtpm @npfandos @Susan_Hennessey The second prong—that “there is no valid impeachment proceeding”—was probably l… https://t.co/XX6B7VMbnW— Jonathan Howard 🦃 (@Jonathan Howard 🦃) 1571101923.0
@staringispolite @joshtpm @npfandos @Susan_Hennessey Yes your second point definitely alludes to Hills testimony be… https://t.co/u366ZLpfTF— Ted Brogan (@Ted Brogan) 1571102253.0
@staringispolite @joshtpm @npfandos @Susan_Hennessey I lol'd when I read that "Curses, they involved the Cippilone Rule. We're finished!!"— #ImpeachmentIsComing (@#ImpeachmentIsComing) 1571102895.0
@staringispolite @joshtpm @npfandos @Susan_Hennessey I noticed that also and I have absolutely no experience regarding law interpretation.— Can.It.Get.Any.Swampier? (@Can.It.Get.Any.Swampier?) 1571106109.0
@joshtpm @npfandos @Susan_Hennessey Aaand they did! https://t.co/pF582YQYuk https://t.co/9e8IhH0T2M— Jonathan Howard 🦃 (@Jonathan Howard 🦃) 1571102586.0
@MaggieJordanACN @npfandos That’s got me hot & bothered. It should not be so exciting to see plainly obvious legal… https://t.co/tV8DsU7eLV— Suzanne wants Impeachment (@Suzanne wants Impeachment) 1571112703.0
@npfandos @PattyArquette Dear White House: Breaking the law and committing treason aren't privileged, nor is seekin… https://t.co/18r4GRIDVG— Jean E Harper (@Jean E Harper) 1571107360.0
@npfandos In U.S. v. Nixon, 418 US 683 (1974), the Supreme Court ordered President Richard Nixon to comply with a j… https://t.co/2HbOxVlBfr— David Michaels (@David Michaels) 1571104091.0
@fantagor @npfandos @MarkSZaidEsq That's the hole crux of the matter. The orange man thought he was above the law a… https://t.co/4bV7781Tog— Bones VOTE 11/3/2020 (@Bones VOTE 11/3/2020) 1571120524.0
Some suggested a way the President could save on legal fees.
Although, is he paying his legal fees on the impeachment inquiry or are the taxpayers?
@staringispolite @joshtpm @npfandos @Susan_Hennessey Could they not just send a card that says, "Don't say anything… https://t.co/JTwyNrwBDr— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁 (@𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁) 1571106473.0
@npfandos “Don’t bring up the crimes”— Matthew Brady (@Matthew Brady) 1571102330.0
Others wondered why such a reaction when there is nothing to the impeachment inquiry...
@npfandos A lot of lawyering for a "perfect" call about a legitimate request.— Mitchell " Mick " Moore (@Mitchell " Mick " Moore) 1571103633.0
@npfandos @maggieNYT What I don’t understand is, IF IT WAS A PERFECT CALL, WHY RESTRICT FORMER OFFICIALS FROM TESTI… https://t.co/ABumJM5Gch— Sri (@Sri) 1571105469.0
...but noted it fit a pattern with Trump.
@IndieinATL @npfandos @maggieNYT Trump’s tax returns are perfect too, so perfect that you’ll go blind if you behold… https://t.co/JUPJ3SAls8— Defend the Republic. (@Defend the Republic.) 1571115745.0
But a few eagle eyes noticed the use of the word malversation in a quote from President James Polk.
@npfandos It's high time to revive the word "malversation" in common use.— Aaron Astor (@Aaron Astor) 1571102523.0
@AstorAaron @npfandos mal·ver·sa·tion /ˌmalvərˈsāSHən/ noun 1. corrupt behavior in a position of trust, especially… https://t.co/Vmu9LXdtl2— Sunny Slope (@Sunny Slope) 1571125670.0
@npfandos Polk quote is pure gold trollage material given several things, such as his relationship with Mexico.— Stephen Nuño-Pérez, PhD (@Stephen Nuño-Pérez, PhD) 1571102903.0
Congress has been recessed on a scheduled state and local work period since September 23 while committees continued work on the impeachment inquiry. The full House and Senate return to work on Tuesday, October 15.
The book Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President by Justin A. Frank, MD, is available here.