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White House Lawyer to Defy Impeachment Subpoena

U.S. President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, November 2, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

White House lawyer John Eisenberg said on Monday that he would not testify to House Democrats in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump, on orders from Trump himself.

“Even if Mr. Eisenberg had been afforded a reasonable amount of time to prepare, the President has instructed Mr. Eisenberg not to appear at the deposition,” Eisenberg’s attorney William Burck wrote to House committees overseeing the impeachment probe.

House Democrats had issued a subpoena to Eisenberg on Friday.

“Under these circumstances, Mr. Eisenberg has no other option that is consistent with his legal and ethical obligations except to follow the direction of his client and employer, the President of the United States,” Burck continued. “Accordingly, Mr. Eisenberg will not be appearing for a deposition at this time.”

Eisenberg reportedly moved the transcript of a July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to a server reserved for classified national security data in order to hinder access to the record.

House Democrats are investigating whether Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son. During the July 25 phone call, a transcript of which Trump released to the public, the President repeatedly urged Zelensky to look into the Bidens.

On Sunday, White House counsel Pat Cipillone wrote Burck that as a senior adviser to Trump, Eisenberg is “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters related to his service as a senior adviser to the President,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Hill.

Trump has repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing regarding his relations with Ukrainian officials.

The impeachment probe “is just another Democrat Hoax that I have had to live with from the day I got elected (and before!). Disgraceful!” Trump wrote on Twitter Monday morning.

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