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.
Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General @neal_katyal on federal judge ordering former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress:
“It looks like a complete win for Nancy Pelosi and the House of Representatives, and a very devastating loss for the President.” pic.twitter.com/E4Kv50QNLx
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) November 25, 2019
Judge Jackson rightly and predictably rejected Trump’s extreme claim that McGahn is absolutely immune from having to testify in response to a House subpoena because nobody is above the law. The tough issues of executive privilege remain.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) November 25, 2019
Judge Jackson’s ruling today makes clear that no one is above the law. Not even the President.
Don McGahn must testify before Congress about what he saw during his time in the White House.
This is a good day for anyone who values the rule of law.
— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) November 25, 2019