World / Crime & Legal

Congress committee to subpoena Jared Kushner, other Trump aides to testify

AFP-JIJI

The House Judiciary Committee said Thursday it would subpoena several of Donald Trump’s advisers, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as it probes the U.S. president’s alleged obstruction of the Russia investigation.

The Democrat-led committee said it intends to continue its investigation despite the completion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller, who will testify himself next week, said in May that longstanding Justice Department guidelines prevented him from charging Trump, despite at least 10 possible acts of criminal obstruction by the president.

But not indicting Trump was not equivalent to clearing him, Mueller said, suggesting it was up to Congress to pursue the case further.

The subpoenas — which were approved Thursday but have yet to be issued — will call on several current and former Trump administration officials to testify before the committee.

In addition to Kushner, the officials include former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his former deputy, Rod Rosenstein, and former White House chief of staff John Kelly.

David Pecker, a longtime Trump friend and publisher of the tabloid National Enquirer, will also be summoned to testify before the committee.

His company, American Media Inc., is accused of paying hush money to a woman who said she had an affair with Trump.

“We will not rest until we obtain their testimony and documents,” said committee president Rep. Jerry Nadler.

Trump denounced the decision on Twitter, writing: “Now the Democrats have asked to see 12 more people who have already spent hours with Robert Mueller, and spent a fortune on lawyers in doing so.”

“They also want to interview the highly conflicted and compromised Mueller again,” Trump added, asking how many “bites at the apple” the Democrats want.

The scrupulously tight-lipped Mueller will testify publicly in back-to-back hearings beginning next Wednesday, despite previously saying he considered his report the only testimony he needed to give on his work.

During his only public statement about the high-stakes probe on May 29, Mueller maintained his ambiguous stance on whether the president had committed a crime.

“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” he said.

He also indicated that it is up to Congress to launch impeachment proceedings to determine if Trump committed a crime.

Democratic leaders are divided over whether to take the politically fraught step to remove the president, with top Democratic lawmaker Nancy Pelosi particularly opposed to it.