House Judiciary Committee Plans Post-Trump Subpoena Of McGahn

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The House Judiciary Committee has revealed plans to continue pursuing testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn, who served for a time in the Trump administration and figured prominently in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice on the part of the outgoing president. On two occasions, Trump ordered McGahn to get Mueller kicked out of his then-position, although the then-White House counsel refused. In April 2019, the House subpoenaed McGahn for testimony, but he didn’t comply with the subpoena, and now, Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D.N.Y.) says that he intends to reissue this subpoena in next year’s Congressional session.

In a memo to the members of his committee, Nadler said that he plans “to promptly reissue the Committee subpoena to Mr. McGahn to ensure this Committee’s litigation and corresponding legislative and oversight efforts continue uninterrupted.” Nadler also indicated that McGahn’s testimony could help lay the groundwork for future legislation that would “restore historical norms” of the relationship between the branches of government. Throughout Trump’s time in office, the White House has repeatedly stonewalled in response to basic Congressional investigative attempts. The Trump team has even claimed that top presidential aides like McGahn are “absolutely immune” from having to provide testimony.

In a concurrent filing with the D.C. Court of Appeals, which is considering the House’s lawsuit that is meant to compel McGahn’s compliance with their subpoena, House Counsel Douglas Letter “indicates that he anticipates the next Congress to adopt a longstanding rule that permits litigation to carry over from one legislative session to the next,” POLITICO explains. This argument undercuts the claim from the Justice Department that the McGahn case had become moot because of the imminent end of the current Congressional session. In reality, there’s a “long history of permitting litigation to carry over” from one session to the next, as POLITICO summarizes Letter’s argument.

The case over McGahn’s subpoena is currently set for consideration by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., where a three-judge panel recently rejected the House’s argument, claiming that the chamber didn’t even have the legal standing to bring cases over subpoena non-compliance. The case is one of many that could hang over Trump World once the president is out of office. Trump is also facing investigations from New York authorities including state Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.