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Politics Robert Blair: Top aide to White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney refuses to testify before House impeachment inquiry

05:00  03 november  2019
05:00  03 november  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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A top aide to White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney , Robert Blair , has refused to testify in the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump after the White House directed him not to appear for his scheduled deposition, his attorney told CNN.

Top aide to White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney refuses to testify before House impeachment inquiry . Blair -- who was on the line Blair 's hiring allowed Mulvaney to have a hand in national security issues without having to go through former White House national security adviser

A top aide to White House Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Robert Blair, has refused to testify in the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump after the White House directed him not to appear for his scheduled deposition, his attorney told CNN.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Robert Blair, senior adviser to the White House Chief of Staff, walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.© Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images Robert Blair, senior adviser to the White House Chief of Staff, walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

The House committees investigating Trump had scheduled Blair's deposition for Monday.

"Mr. Blair is caught between the assertions of legal duty by two coequal branches of government, a conflict which he cannot resolve," Blair's attorney Whit Ellerman told CNN on Saturday.

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The House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump are seeking testimony from Robert Blair , an assistant to the President and senior adviser to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney , a source familiar with the request told CNN.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney refused to comply with House impeachment investigators' subpoena for a closed-door deposition Friday, citing "absolute immunity" from testifying .

"In light of the clear direction he has been given by the executive branch, Mr. Blair has respectfully declined to appear and testify. Nevertheless, he will fulfill all his legal duties once that conflict is appropriately resolved."

The Financial Times first reported the news of Blair's decision.

Blair has not yet received a subpoena, but Ellerman said Blair will still refuse to testify if he is subpoenaed.

"The direction from the White House, and the advice from (Department of Justice) on which it is based, covers subpoenas," he said.

Blair, who previously served as associate director for national security programs in the Office of Management and Budget, followed Mulvaney to the West Wing in January as his national security adviser after Mulvaney became acting chief of staff.

While Mulvaney was not on the call between Trump and the Ukrainian President in July, Blair was one of just a small group of officials on the line during Trump's controversial call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on June 25.

Before joining the Trump administration, Blair served as staff director on the House Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations.

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