By Ashley Jacobs for Insider USA
A top acting Trump administration official will face the House Judiciary Committee and the wrath of President Donald Trump, as the panel convenes a hearing on the president’s alleged obstruction of justice.
Vice Adm. David “Nick” Davidy Hale, who is President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser for strategy, will testify Tuesday at the hearing, according to an aide. Hale will be the highest-ranking official that the Judiciary Committee has interviewed about the Russian probe since Trump’s campaign for president began in June 2015.
Meanwhile, House Democrats on Monday challenged Republican efforts to delay their impeachment efforts, as all 39 Democratic members signed a letter requesting additional briefings from the Justice Department and FBI before its next expected hearing.
The Judiciary Committee began that investigation in May after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. According to members of the House, the documents the Democrats requested show the former FBI director is “cooperating fully” with the committee.
“In the three months since we requested these documents, we have made a deliberate effort to reach out to both the executive and legislative branches of the government to see if we can establish a bipartisan basis for bringing forth this information,” the letter says. “We are disappointed that we have been unable to achieve that goal.”
The Democratic congressional lawmakers then sent a letter to the chairman of the committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and the Republican chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., calling for the panel to respond within five days, or to prepare for a second session of the hearing.
Their requests come the day after a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which Goodlatte reportedly requested that he write a memo detailing his objections to any Trump investigation that would fall under special counsel Robert Mueller’s purview.
Monday’s letter, signed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said “nothing justifies delay.”
“The American people deserve answers as to why Donald Trump fired James Comey,” the letter said. “The president and his allies at Fox News have strongly suggested that he did so because Comey was not sufficiently loyal, even threatening to appoint a special counsel to probe claims that a deputy attorney general had leaked classified information to journalists, which the Department of Justice promptly investigated.”
The letter was signed by all House Democrats. GOP Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Cory Gardner of Colorado co-signed the letter, which expresses concern that Republican leaders are not doing more to conduct their investigation.
“Regardless of whether or not our House leadership seeks to engage in a hearing, American people deserve to know the existence of a relevant and tangible legal justification for the president’s actions,” the letter says.
A spokesman for Goodlatte declined to comment. Goodlatte recently made headlines by announcing he will not seek re-election in 2020, citing his age.
Tuesday’s public hearing begins at 9 a.m. ET, with Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, presenting evidence at the beginning of the hearing.
Today’s is slated to be the first in a series of impeachment hearings, which are to take place in January.
Earlier this month, the House Ways and Means Committee agreed to subpoena written correspondence from former attorney general Jeff Sessions, who has declined to provide records to their probe into whether Trump has obstructed justice.
While legal issues surrounding the president have appeared more urgent on the West Wing floor over the past several months, he has already incurred another set of public relations headaches just this past weekend. The New York Times reported that he had been close to signing an agreement to curtail his fight with Mueller’s special counsel investigation that was more favorable to him than his current arrangement.
The Times reported that the Trump Organization would have limited jurisdiction in matters related to the investigation, likely ruling out some business dealings as potential areas for Mueller to investigate.
The offer turned down, according to a person familiar with the deal who was not authorized to discuss it by name.
According to the Times, the FBI declined to publicize the offer because it was at odds with standard norms and with the president’s agreement to not be contacted by prosecutors.