President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE's recent posture of blocking former White House officials from appearing on Capitol Hill in response to subpoenas from congressional Democrats is unpopular with the vast majority of the public, according to a new Hill-HarrisX poll.
Nearly three-quarters of registered voters, 74 percent, said they believe that former senior White House officials should be required to testify before Congress when they are subpoenaed, according to the poll. Just 26 percent said they believe that former officials should not have to testify.
Majorities of every demographic group sampled in the May 24-25 poll came down strongly against the idea of allowing ex-White House officials to evade congressional subpoenas. Even Republicans, by a margin of 61 to 31 percent, said that former administration officials should testify before Congress when they are asked to appear.
Independent voters overwhelmingly said that former senior White House employees should submit to congressional subpoenas, with 73 percent in support and 27 percent not. Among Democrats, 87 percent said former administration officials should testify while 13 percent said otherwise.
Voters who called themselves conservative also supported the idea, with 71 percent of respondents who said they leaned conservative in favor of the former officials testifying and 56 percent who called themselves strong conservatives agreeing.
The White House provided numerous documents and witnesses to former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE and legislative committees examining Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election, but the Trump administration has in recent weeks rebuffed many congressional requests, claiming that Democrats are engaging in "presidential harassment."
On Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerOcasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan Angelina Jolie spotted in Capitol meeting with senators House panel advances immigration language for reconciliation bill MORE (D-N.Y.) said that the White House had instructed former communications director Hope HicksHope HicksThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records UPDATED: McEnany, Fox News talks on pause MORE and former administration attorney Annie Donaldson to refuse to comply with congressional document requests and subpoenas for their testimony.
"The White House has instructed both Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson not to turn over records in response to subpoenas issued by our Committee last month," Nadler said in a statement. "The President has no lawful basis for preventing these witnesses from complying with our request."
White House counsel Pat Cipollone replied in a letter obtained by The Hill that it was his belief that the documents sought by Democrats were covered under executive privilege, which some current and former high-level administration officials have cited in refusing certain congressional requests.
While the public appears to support congressional Democrats' attempts to investigate potential wrongdoing by White House officials, a Hill-HarrisX survey released last month found that voters also support an inquiry into whether law enforcement officials acted appropriately when they began the original Russia probe in 2015. That investigation, which Trump has repeatedly called for, included surveillance of people who had been affiliated with the future president's campaign.