News broke late Monday that Trump White House communications director Hope Hicks is expected to testify on Capitol Hill as soon as this week regarding the Russia investigation, highlighting a major difference in how the president’s team handles congressional inquiries versus the Obama administration: they don’t plead the Fifth.
While multiple members of the Trump administration and campaign have appeared before congressional investigators for what the president has repeatedly described as the “witch hunt” Russia investigation, several officials in the Obama administration plead the Fifth Amendment’s right against self-incrimination when called to testify regarding a multitude of scandals.
Perhaps the most high profile instance of this was former IRS director of tax-exempt organizations Lois Lerner, who did so on two separate occasions when called before congressional committees to address the targeting conservative groups by her department.
In 2015, former State Department employee Bryan Pagliano plead the Fifth to the House Select Committee on Benghazi rather than answer questions related to his setting up of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private, unsecured, unauthorized email server.
Patrick Cunningham, chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, also invoked the Fifth Amendment in 2012 when called to testify before the House Oversight Committee in relation to Operation Fast and Furious.
Former Department Veterans Affairs officials John Sepulveda, Diana Rubens, and Kimberly Graves all plead the Fifth instead of testifying before Congress regarding major problems at the VA.
Additionally, former Attorney General Eric Holder consistently stonewalled congressional committee inquiries to the point where the entire House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress in 2012. The vote was 258-95, with 21 Democrats crossing over to vote with Republicans on the resolution, Politico reported.
In contrast, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House aide Jared Kushner are among the notable Trump administration officials who have...Read More HERE