November 4, 2019

The White House blockade on impeachment testimony by administration officials is slamming the gates shut on a series of scheduled depositions, including all four scheduled for Monday. National Security Council lawyers John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis won't testify. Robert Blair, a top aide to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, won’t testify. Brian McCormack, associate director for natural resources, energy & science at the Office of Management and Budget, won’t testify.

Eisenberg and Ellis both received subpoenas Sunday night, but Eisenberg—whose fingerprints are all over the initial cover-up of the Ukraine call—is claiming executive privilege. Ellis, Blair, and McCormack all claim they aren’t showing up because they won't be allowed to have an administration lawyer with them.

But The Washington Post reports that the stonewalling by Office of Management and Budget officials is part of a strategy by the agency’s acting head, Russell Vought, who has “sought to build a relationship with the president for some time and sees standing firm against the impeachment inquiry as a way to bolster it, according to two White House officials.” Vought himself won’t show up for a scheduled deposition later in the week, nor will another OMB official, Michael Duffey.

House investigators want to hear from the OMB officials about the freeze on aid to Ukraine that Congress had already appropriated. But instead they’ll get a show of loyalty to Trump that amounts of obstruction. So … one impeachable offense in order to avoid testifying about another.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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