House Dems Will Keep Pushing for Ex-WH Lawyer's Testimony Former White House counsel Don McGahn (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Marisa Herman | Thursday, 17 December 2020 12:02 PM
House Democrats don’t intend to back down from their pursuit of obtaining testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn, CBS News reports.
Lawyers for the House told a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., that lawmakers are moving forward with a request to enforce a subpoena issued to the former White House lawyer in 2021.
In a Wednesday filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee said that the Democrat-led panel "maintains a right and need for McGahn's testimony," as lawmakers plan to continue their probe into President Donald Trump's actions during special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, even after he leaves office.
"The committee, whose chairman will not change in the next Congress, will reissue the subpoena, consistent with House rules and precedent," they told the court. "This case will thus continue, and nothing about the end of this Congress will prevent this court from resolving it."
According to CBS News, House Democrats and the White House have gone back and forth for 16 months over subpoenaing McGahn. The committee approved the subpoena in April 2016 after Mueller issued his report on alleged Russia election interference. The report highlighted 10 cases where Trump possibly obstructed justice, but the investigators on Mueller’s team didn’t make a ruling. McGahn provided Mueller's investigators with information about his interactions with Trump, and his testimony was referenced in the report.
The White House blocked McGahn from complying with the subpoena and claimed he was "absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony."
The Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit in August 2019 to enforce the subpoena, which was tossed by a three-judge panel on technical grounds. Now, Democrats are waiting for the full D.C. Circuit to rehear the case.
The Justice Department claims the case should be dismissed. It argues the subpoena will expire on Jan. 3 when the 116th Congress ends.
"There is no reasonable likelihood that this controversy will recur in the future, and it is purely speculative at this time whether a new Congress will renew the same dispute and call on the courts to resolve the same legal issue," federal prosecutors told the D.C. Circuit.
But House lawyers say the new Congress is likely to continue ongoing litigation and will reissue subpoenas. Committee lawyers said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler "has stated that he will reissue the subpoena to McGahn and continue this litigation. McGahn's testimony will remain relevant to the committee's oversight and legislative priorities."
Top Republican on the committee Rep. Jim Jordan slammed Nadler over his plan to reissue the subpoena to McGahn next year. In a letter, Jordan accused Nadler of misusing "limited committee resources on your fanatical obsession with attacking" the president. "For too long, you have allowed your oddly personal obsession with President Trump to cloud the committee's work," he wrote to Nadler on Wednesday. "It is time that you stop."