The Roundup: June 13 – 19
This morning, Hope Hicks dodged question after question from the House Judiciary about her knowledge of Trump’s obstruction of justice and ties to Russia during a closed door hearing. She wouldn’t even answer questions as simple as where she sat in the White House — or if she told the truth to the special counsel. Hicks’ silence demonstrated just how committed Trump’s inner circle is to him. Not the law, and not the American people.
Republicans have pointed to the fact that Hicks appeared before the Committee as a sign that the White House is cooperating with Congress, but showing up just to refuse cooperation only adds insult to injury.
This latest episode of stonewalling will certainly fuel the growing call for impeachment hearings among House Democrats, 68 of whom are now in favor. The latest polls also show that two thirds of Democratic voters want Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry. This demonstrates that regular Americans, not just lawmakers, are waking up to the desperate need for bolder action to hold Trump accountable.
These new numbers come in the wake of Trump’s interview with ABC News last week, which aired in full on Sunday night. During the interview, he said that he would not necessarily contact the FBI if a foreign country approached him with damaging information about an opponent in 2020 — and in fact he would welcome their help. Both Republicans and Democrats have condemned the comments, arguing that they invite Russian election interference all over again.
The White House is pulling out all the stops to prevent key players in the Mueller report from talking. The best way for Congress to overcome these efforts is to open an impeachment inquiry into Trump to air the full evidence of his criminal wrongdoing. Call your representative and demand they support an immediate impeachment inquiry.
With the news moving fast, there’s a lot to stay on top of. Read the week’s most important updates in the latest edition of the Roundup:
Politico: ‘It’s a farce’: Dems livid as Hope Hicks dodges questions
House Democrats erupted Wednesday at what they said was the White House’s repeated interference in their interview with Hope Hicks, a longtime confidante of Trump who was a central witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation. Several House Judiciary Committee members exiting the closed-door interview said she wouldn’t answer questions as basic as where she sat in the West Wing or whether she told the truth to Mueller.
Politico: Dems to grill Hope Hicks on alleged Trump obstruction
House Democrats intend to question former White House communications director Hope Hicks on Wednesday about five specific incidents that special counsel Robert Mueller detailed as part of his investigation into whether Trump tried to obstruct an investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The Judiciary Committee also intends to ask the longtime Trump confidante about hush-money payments that prosecutors say Trump directed to women who planned to accuse him of extramarital affairs in the closing weeks of the 2016 campaign.
Politico: Poll: Democratic support for impeachment grows
Sixty-seven percent of self-identified Democratic respondents said lawmakers should begin impeachment proceedings, the first step toward removing Trump from office, according to the poll released Wednesday, an increase from the 59 percent of Democrats who favored impeachment in an April survey.
Mother Jones: Trump Admits He’d Be Perfectly Happy to Accept Dirt From Foreign Agents: “I’d Take It”
Trump said that he would be willing to accept damaging information on 2020 Democratic candidates if offered by a foreign entity, including Russia, dismissing concerns that such an action invites election interference. He also expressed ambivalence about whether he’d alert the FBI if faced with such a situation. “It’s not an interference. They have information, I think I’d take it,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Newsweek: Trump Insists the Constitution’s Article II ‘Allows me to do whatever I want’
Trump insisted that Article II of the U.S. Constitution “allows” him to do “whatever” he wants, arguing that he never planned to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller but had every legal right to do so. The president made the remarks during an exclusive interview with ABC News’ host George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos pushed back, pointing out that McGahn’s testimony to the special counsel and the report told a different story.
Slate: William Barr’s Justice Department Is Now Openly Running Legal Interference for Paul Manafort
This effort to aid the president’s loyal associate behind bars is a startling escalation of Attorney General William Barr’s campaign to help Trump and his confederates evade consequences for their misdeeds.
The New York Times: Democrat in Competitive California District Joins Call for Impeachment Inquiry
Representative Katie Porter, who narrowly flipped part of Republicans’ Southern California stronghold to the Democrats in last year’s midterm elections, said on Monday that she would support opening an impeachment inquiry into Trump. The announcement makes Ms. Porter one of the first to endorse impeachment of the 40 or so “front-line Democrats” whose seats are deemed endangered by their party, demonstrating that support for such a move is no longer limited to lawmakers from the party’s safest districts.
The Huffington Post: Andrew McCabe Says It’s Time For Impeachment Inquiries Into Trump
“I think we are clearly there with the results of the special counsel team,” McCabe told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “There are so many witnesses who could provide important essential testimony to Congress that can only be done in the scope of an impeachment inquiry.”
The New York Times: Mitch McConnell, Too, Welcomes Russian Interference
Why won’t Mitch McConnell protect our elections from outside interference? His Republican colleagues in the Senate want to do something. That’s why some of the most conservative members of his caucus are working with Democrats to improve the nation’s election security. But McConnell refuses to consider any legislation on election security during this congressional term. For the Senate majority leader, this rare show of bipartisan cooperation doesn’t matter.
The New York Times: Michael Flynn and Rick Gates Subpoenaed to Testify by House Committee
The subpoenas are tied to the Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russia’s attempts to influence the American political system and whether Russia or other foreign interests could have influence over Trump, his family or associates.