Published: Thu, November 28, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump administration wants order for McGahn testimony put on hold

Trump administration wants order for McGahn testimony put on hold

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday put a temporary hold on a ruling earlier this week requiring former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before the House in its impeachment inquiry.

Justice Department lawyers wrote in the new filing that the appeals court should block the ruling before Trump is "irreparably injured by the compelled congressional testimony of a former close adviser".

Jackson in her ruling rejected the White House's "absolute immunity" argument to prevent McGahn from appearing to testifying, saying that McGahn is required to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for testimony but is allowed to assert privilege on questions asked during a hearing, where appropriate.

McGahn's subpoena was issued in the Judiciary Committee's investigation into whether President Trump obstructed justice in trying to impede special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election campaign. And Jackson's ruling on Monday dropped a hammer on the White House's argument, making it that much more hard for Trump to keep stonewalling Congress in its impeachment inquiry.

Justice Department lawyers who instruct McGahn appealed the ruling rapidly, asking the courts to retain off his testimony until the DC Circuit Court docket of Appeals can weigh in. That could take the case to the Supreme Court, and in the meantime, the department could seek a court stay to prevent McGahn or others from speaking before the two committees.

After Jackson's ruling on Monday, in which she rejected the government's claim that senior White House advisers are absolutely immune to congressional subpoenas, the Justice Department immediately filed notice that it would appeal.

At least for now, former White House counsel Don McGahn won't have to testify to the House of Representatives.

Bolton, who left his White House job in September, has joined a separate lawsuit filed by Kupperman seeking a ruling on whether they must comply with a House subpoena. When asked about that, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dodged the suggestion.

In a letter to House lawmakers, Adam Schiff - chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that is leading the impeachment proceedings - said that after Congress returns from Thanksgiving holiday, his panel is expected to complete a report summarizing key findings relating to allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to launch investigations that would have benefited him personally.

The subpoena was issued months before the House opened an impeachment inquiry into the Republican president's actions concerning Ukraine.

The judge ordered McGahn to appear before the House committee and said her conclusion was "inescapable" because a subpoena demand is part of the legal system - not the political process - and "per the Constitution, no one is above the law". During that time, McGahn would not have to testify.

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