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Jerry Nadler subpoenas ex-White House aide Rob Porter as part of Trump impeachment inquiry

2019-08-28

Rob Porter, former White House staff secretary, speaks to President Trump in August 2017. Porter has been subpoenaed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Former White House staff secretary Rob Porter was hit with a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee on Monday as part of the panel’s ongoing inquiry into a possible impeachment of President Trump.

Porter, who was a key witness in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, is expected to appear for testimony on Sept. 17 as part of the subpoena, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement.

“This will help the committee determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the president,” Nadler (D-N.Y.) said. "No one is above the law.”

Nadler said he and other committee Democrats plan to grill Porter on Mueller’s findings that he was instructed by Trump to tell former White House counsel Don McGahn to create “a false record" in response to news reports that the president had asked McGahn to fire the special counsel.

“Porter told McGahn Trump wanted him to create a false record and that the president said he would fire McGahn if he did not do it,” Nadler said, citing the second volume of Mueller’s 448-page report.

Referring to Trump, Nadler added, “As I’ve said before, any other American would have been prosecuted based on the evidence special counsel Mueller uncovered in his report.”

The White House did not return a request for comment.

In his report, Mueller opted to neither clear nor exonerate Trump of obstructing justice — a highly unusual legal move that some Democrats view as an implicit impeachment recommendation.

Nadler has subpoenaed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and ex-White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn to testify on the same day as Porter, who resigned last year amid disturbing spousal abuse allegations.

Like Porter, Lewandowski and Dearborn featured prominently in the Mueller report chapter on obstruction.

It’s unclear whether the trio will appear for the Sept. 17 testimony. The White House has previously instructed ex-staffers to not comply with House oversight requests, accusing Democrats of orchestrating an anti-Trump “witch hunt.”

Nadler’s latest subpoena comes as a growing number of Democrats are openly calling for impeaching Trump.

Congress kicks back into session next week and all eyes are expected to be on Nadler’s committee, which is actively weighing whether to recommend formal articles of impeachment to the full House.

“The committee intends to hold hearings and obtain testimony over the coming months as part of its efforts to hold the president accountable as we move forward with our investigation into obstruction, corruption and abuse of power by Trump and his associates,” Nadler said in his statement.