Inside Democrats' plan to call ‘star witnesses’ who are beyond Trump’s reach: report
Claiming executive privilege, President Donald Trump has vowed to resist all subpoenas issued by Democrats in the House of Representatives — and those he has encouraged to defy subpoenas have ranged from former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks to former White House Counsel Don McGahn. But according to a June 17 report by Politico, House Democrats have come up with a possible way to counter that: seeking witnesses who never worked in the White House.
Darren Samuelsohn and Kyle Cheney, in Politico, report that Democrats have a list of potential witnesses who fit that description — and they range from former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Unlike McGahn or Hicks, Lewandowski and Christie are Trump allies who never worked in the White House.
Rick Gates, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and went on to cooperate with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during the Russia investigation, is another possibility.
Politico quotes Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland as saying, “These people could be called without any reasonable shred of a claim of executive privilege.” And according to Rep. David Cicilline (a Democrat who is on the House Judiciary Committee), any efforts on Trump’s part to block them on executive privilege grounds would probably fail in the courts.
Another possible witness for House Democrats, according to Politico, is Robert Kelner, a former attorney for Michael Flynn — who briefly served as national security advisor in the Trump Administration in 2017 and cooperated in Mueller’s investigation after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.
John Q. Barrett, a law professor at St. John’s University, believes that Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort — who is now serving seven and one-half years in federal prison after being convicted on tax and bank charges — would make an excellent witness.
Barrett told Politico, “Where’s Paul Manafort? He’s in a prison somewhere. He’s readily available. Get him a suit. Get him a haircut. Have him testify.”