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Judge Rules Former White House Counsel Must Testify Before Congress

Don McGahn II (photo: Gage Skidmore/FlickrCC License)

A federal judge ruled on Monday that former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II must testify before House investigators per a congressional subpoena regarding Donald Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Mueller investigation.

The White House has attempted to assert ‘absolute immunity’ regarding advisers to the president.

From the New York Times:

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the Trump administration’s sweeping claim that top presidential advisers are absolutely immune from being compelled to talk about their official duties — meaning they do not even have to show up in response to a subpoena.

Mr. McGahn is unlikely to appear any time soon because it is virtually certain that the Justice Department will file an appeal and seek a stay of the judge’s ruling. He and his lawyer, William A. Burck, have taken the position that the fight is between Congress and the Trump administration, permitting administration lawyers to handle the case.

“Don McGahn will comply with Judge Jackson’s decision unless it is stayed pending appeal,” Mr. Burck said in an email. “The DOJ is handling this case, so you will need to ask them whether they intend to seek a stay.”

Should McGahn wait for all expected appeals from Team Trump to be played out, it’s very possible the issue won’t be worked out in time for his testimony to occur before the end of the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Judge Jackson rejected all 3 of DOJ’s arguments finding that “the claim that a President’s senior-level aides have absolute testimonial immunity is meritless.”

I’ll be curious to see if this moves the needle on whether former National Security Adviser John Bolton will now agree to testify.

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