All four White House officials who are scheduled to give depositions on Monday during the House’s impeachment inquiry won’t show up, as a source with knowledge of the situation tells CNN that National Security Council lawyers John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis will not testify.
The two officials will join Robert Blair, assistant to the President and senior adviser to the acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Brian McCormack, associate director for natural resources, energy & science at the Office of Management and Budget, in not testifying on Monday, CNN reported earlier. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who was scheduled to appear Wednesday, will not participate in a closed door deposition, an Energy Department spokesperson said Friday.
An administration official says Eisenberg isn’t showing up due to executive privilege while Blair, Ellis and McCormack aren’t going to appear because they won’t be able to have an administration lawyer present.
On Sunday night, the House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to Blair and Ellis, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry.
Blair’s attorney, Whit Ellerman, told CNN Saturday that “Blair is caught between the assertions of legal duty by two coequal branches of government, a conflict which he cannot resolve.”
Two other OMB officials, Michael Duffey and Russell Vought, also won’t show up to their depositions later this week, a source with knowledge of the situation tells CNN.
As more witnesses in the impeachment probe continue to refuse to give testimony, House investigators are signaling they are prepared to begin the next phase of their inquiry – even if their subpoenas are ignored across the board.
A number of House Democrats told CNN that it’s time for that next step, saying they’ve already built enough evidence to advance the proceedings to the public stage.
“This isn’t an Agatha Christie novel – this is a shakedown,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland who has taken part in the closed door depositions. “I think we have established an overwhelming case. But we have got very careful prosecutors on the staff who rightfully want to leave no witness unexamined, and they want every detail to be nailed down as much as possible. That’s good.”
Raskin added: “But at a certain point we have to say … there’s just been an overwhelming case that high crimes and misdemeanors have likely been committed against our country.”
The inquiry is rooted in a whistleblower complaint that deals with a phone call President Donald Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. A transcript of the conversation released by the White House shows Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.