Kushner, Sessions among targets for new House Democrat subpoenas

Billy House

The House Judiciary Committee authorized a battery of subpoenas tied to President Donald Trump’s possible obstruction of justice, as well as the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families.

Among the 12 individuals targeted for subpoenas in the 21-to-12 vote are some of the biggest names in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser; former Attorney General Jeff Sessions; and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

In this June 26, 2019, file photo, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., takes his seat for a hearing on Capitol Hill. The House Judiciary Committee is moving to authorize subpoenas for several people tied to special counsel Robert Mueller's report, including President Donald Trump's son in law, Jared Kushner, and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Underscoring the frustrated efforts by House Democrats to obtain testimony from Trump administration officials across-the-board, the panel also authorized Chairman Jerrold Nadler to issue subpoenas for testimony and documents on the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families, and any “discussions about or offers of presidential pardons to Department of Homeland Security officials or employees.”

The White House has been ordering current and former officials to refuse to testify before Congress or to limit their testimony, even under subpoena, blocking efforts to obtain information and witnesses for hearings.

"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,” Nadler, a New York Democrat, said before the vote.

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the committee’s top Republican, said the new batch of subpoenas is “a chance for the chairman to prove to his rank and file, and the rest of the Democratic caucus, he can be tough on the Trump administration after being pushed around for six months.” He said “it isn’t about oversight. It’s simply about politics.”

The moves came less than a week before Mueller is scheduled to testify publicly to the Judiciary panel and the Intelligence Committee next Wednesday. Democrats are counting on Mueller’s appearance to reinvigorate their sputtering investigations, which some of them see as a prelude to a potential impeachment inquiry.

Trump ridiculed Democrats in a tweet Thursday for seeking to hear from the “conflicted and compromised Mueller.” He said, “Enough already, go back to work!”

Details of the format for Mueller’s committee appearance were still being negotiated with the committee on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the talks. Also, efforts to get former Mueller deputies to submit to closed-door interviews with the committees hadn’t been resolved, amid Justice Department challenges to them appearing.

Among others targeted in the list of subpoenas authorized by the Judiciary Committee on Thursday were these former Trump associates: Michael Flynn, who was national security adviser; John Kelly, who was White House chief of staff; and Corey Lewandowski, who was campaign manager.

Also included was David Pecker, the head of American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer, indicating the committee may want to focus on hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to women campaign alleging affairs with Trump.