House Judiciary Committee votes to authorize subpoenas for Trump officials

The measure gives panel chairman Jerry Nadler the power to subpoena potential witnesses in its investigation into potential obstruction and abuse of power by President Donald Trump.
Image: Jared Kushner at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 29, 2019.
Jared Kushner is on the list of officials whom Nadler was authorized to subpoena under Thursday's resolution.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Rebecca Shabad and Alex Moe

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to authorize subpoenas targeting current and former Trump administration officials, as lawmakers seek documents from them as well as their testimony.

The panel voted along party lines 21-12 to approve a resolution that authorizes subpoenas for 12 people who are witnesses sought in the panel’s investigation into potential obstruction and abuse of power by President Donald Trump. Separately, the resolution also authorizes Nadler to issue subpoenas relating to the Trump administration’s family separation policies and practices at the southern border.

“These include government officials who worked or continue to work in close proximity to the president,” Nadler said in his opening statement.

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“These witnesses also include those outside of government who have critical information in connection with our investigation. We will not rest until we obtain their testimony and documents so this committee and Congress can do the work the Constitution, and the American people, expect of us."

The resolution does not actually issue the subpoenas, but gives Nadler the power to do so if he chooses in the future.

Trump tweeted about the Judiciary panel's plans Thursday morning as the panel prepared to vote. “Now the Democrats have asked to see 12 more people who have already spent hours with Robert Mueller, and spent a fortune on lawyers in so doing. How many bites at the apple do they get before working on Border Loopholes and Asylum," he said.

The list of people the resolution would allow him to subpoena includes Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Homeland Security secretary and White House chief of staff John Kelly.

It also includes former White House deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs Rick Dearborn, Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt, former White House aide Rob Porter, lawyer Keith Davidson, Dylan Howard, who oversees the National Enquirer, as well as its publisher David Pecker.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., top Republican on the panel, lambasted Nadler on Thursday over both the resolution authorizing the subpoenas and the scheduled hearing featuring former special counsel Robert Mueller next week, arguing that members won’t be able to ask questions because of the time limit “this committee got rolled.”

Ahead of the vote on the resolution, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said that “children are still being separated from their families” at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats have been demanding information from the administration for months regarding its policies over the treatment of migrants at the southern border. In May, Nadler and other members of the Judiciary panel wrote a letter to acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan and other officials calling for an immediate investigation into the deaths of five migrant children in U.S. custody over the last six months.