Published: Wed, November 27, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

USA judge: Ex-White House counsel must comply with House subponea

USA judge: Ex-White House counsel must comply with House subponea

An attorney for former Trump national security adviser John Bolton and Bolton deputy Charles Kupperman has released on a statement in response to a federal judge's Monday ruling that former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Democrats filed the lawsuit against McGahn to force him to testify in the obstruction of justice issue relating to the Russian Federation probe, but the ruling could also impact other areas such as the impeachment process, where key Trump administration officials have declined to testify under direction from the White House. "That is to say, however busy or essential a presidential aide might be, and whatever their proximity to sensitive domestic and national-security projects, the president does not have the power to excuse him or her" from complying with a valid congressional subpoena, she wrote.

Jackson's searing 120-page opinion Monday said McGahn must testify and disagreed with the executive branch's legal claims of current and former officials having "absolute immunity". The administration is likely to appeal, per NBC, which could freeze the judge's ruling for now.

McGahn was a star witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, and Democrats wanted to question McGahn about possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

House Democrats have sought the testimony of both Bolton and Kupperman.

"Boy, it looks like a complete win for Nancy Pelosi and the House of Representatives and a very devastating loss for the president", Katyal said.

The House judiciary committee is still investigating whether Trump tried to have Mueller himself sacked, as recorded in the Mueller report citing McGahn.

Jackson's ruling concerns only McGahn's testimony. Separation of powers refers to the U.S. Constitution assigning different authority to the federal government's executive, legislative and judicial branches.

The justice department instantly moved to appeal the decision, rendering an appeal hearing inevitable and opening up the possibility that such a fundamental dispute over where power lies in modern America will end up at the door of the USA supreme court.

Separate from the subpoena at issue, the decision also raised the possibility of the official being requested to testify in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, in which House Democrats are trying to establish a case of President Donald Trump abusing his office for personal political gain.

When asked Tuesday about the president's tweet on testimony, Pompeo said cryptically, "When the time is right, all good things happen".

Trump's legal team wrote in a motion to dismiss the Kupperman case earlier this month that the Office of Legal Counsel had concluded that Kupperman had qualified as a senior adviser and, as such, "was absolutely immune from compelled testimony before Congress regarding his officials duties".

A ruling in the case of Kupperman is still expected sometime later this year.

House investigators would love to talk to former white house counsel Don McGhan. He also said the report would include a catalog of White House refusals to cooperate with the inquiry.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., celebrated Jackson's decision.

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