More congressional Democrats call for impeachment inquiry

White House counsel Don McGahn

White House counsel Don McGahn

Judge Mehta agreed with Congressional Democrats that House committees, including the ones now investigating the President, have broad discretion to pursue documents and witness statements that they feel are relevant to their inquiries - and that, in this case, includes subpoeaning Trump's accounting firm, Mazars, for his financial records.

Pelosi has been resisting calls from dozens of Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Despite McGahn's absence, the committee held a hearing lasting about a half-hour that featured an empty chair at the witness table.

"When you have a president who says 'I'm not going to respect the authority of a co-equal branch [of government]...", argues Jayapal, "then I think that is the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy".

Their probes range from whether Trump obstructed justice during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian meddling in Trump's favor in the 2016 USA presidential election to his personal finances and businesses.

"Actually, the crime was committed on the other side", he said.

Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing and denied that he asked Mr McGahn to have Mr Mueller removed. The ceramic chicken did not make a repeat appearance on Tuesday.

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But House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said their subpoenas "are not optional" and said they would hear Mr McGahn's testimony "even if we have to go to court to secure it". A redacted version of Mueller's report was released by Barr last month. I want to do it more than you want to do it.

"I don't do cover ups", the president told reporters in the White House Rose Garden.

"This is becoming a regular event".

As Democrats weigh their options, Trump is nearly taunting them by testing the bounds of executive power in ways few other administrations have.

From the start, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has resisted calls to impeach President Donald Trump. "There is a real feeling outside of the national security council, across the board, that John has his own agenda and is undercutting the president's policies", another source close to the White House said.

Tuesday's move by the two well-regarded members of the House, who not only lead a large caucus but also have worked closely with Democratic leaders and interest groups in Washington and nationally, was described by Free Speech for People President John Bonifaz as a "tide is turning" moment.

The President's explicit threat to refuse working with Democrats on legislation unless they drop their probes into him opened a new front in his war on congressional oversight. Pelosi gave voice to the frustration of activists within the caucus, but pulled more support together for a go-it-slow approach from the meeting.

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The two court cases over House subpoenas, running closely in tandem, represent a major attempt by Trump to prevent Congress from reaching his personal and business records. Trump and the bank eventually settled the case.

There is a "danger", he added, because if there is a Democratic president in the future, "they can impeach him for any reason".

Nancy Pelosi is a political creature, through and through.

It was not immediately clear when Democrats might pursue a contempt citation against McGahn.

Trump repeated his previous rhetoric about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russia's interference in Trump's favour in the 2016 US presidential election and whether Trump impeded Mueller's inquiry.

The report found there was insufficient evidence to conclude that a criminal conspiracy between Moscow and the Trump campaign had taken place.

Several other members of Congress, including Reps.

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