Can you just ‘nope’ a subpoena?

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U.S. President Donald Trump confers with White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (L) as White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders listens during an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2018. Photo credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The White House has instructed former staffers Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson not to comply with congressional subpoenas. In this case, Congress seeks documents related to their White House services. It appears the White House is appearing to assert executive privilege without actually doing it, and it’s not clear they have the power to give an overall ‘nope’ to producing documents, but they’re trying it. Your move, Congress.

Judge Emmett Sullivan has been trying to get a better picture of Michael Flynn’s cooperation with the special counsel to evaluate if it was valuable enough to merit no jail time for Flynn, as agreed to in his plea deal. So, he asked the government to release two documents: one is a classified document (he was denied and dropped the order) and the other is a voicemail in which former Trump attorney John Dowd tries to get information about Flynn’s cooperation with the special counsel investigation and dissuade Flynn from cooperating with the investigation. Josh re-enacts that voicemail Dowd left for Flynn’s lawyer. He does a pretty good job of showing how bad the voicemail really is. Ken says it’s useful to practice saying what you want to say before leaving a voicemail, and any prosecutor would interpret this voicemail as Dowd dangling a pardon for Flynn. This voicemail was a footnote in the Mueller report, but Dowd wasn’t indicted -- why?

Plus: President Trump continues to talk about “treason” -- is it possible anyone has committed treason? Rudy Giuliani says he wants to sue Robert Mueller for $17 million for only doing half of his job (that is, not making a recommendation on whether President Trump should be charged with obstruction of justice). George Nader, who was a witness in the Mueller investigation, has been arrested on child pornography charges. Should this change how we think about his involvement in the Russia investigation? And finally, is Michael Avenatti still a...lawyer?

Credits

Hosts:
Josh Barro, Ken White

Producer:
Sara Fay