WTF? White men are openly defying the law and thumbing their nose at Congress and the rule of law. If McGahn doesn’t show up for the hearing, lock his ass up too.
Former White House counsel Don McGahn will not appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday despite a congressional subpoena demanding his appearance.
McGahn’s attorney William Burck wrote in a Monday letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that his client would comply with instructions from the White House to decline the appearance.
“Mr. McGahn understands from your prior correspondence that the Committee would vote to hold him in contempt should he not appear tomorrow and the House of Representatives may follow suit,” Burck wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Hill Monday evening.
“While we disagree with the Committee’s position and hope it will instead seek an accommodation with the White House, Mr. McGahn also must honor his ethical and legal obligations as a former senior lawyer and senior advisor to the President. In short, it is our view that the Committee’s dispute is not with Mr. McGahn but with the White House,” Burck added.
President Trump earlier in the day directed McGahn not to appear for the committee, citing a Justice Department legal opinion arguing McGahn is immune from congressional testimony.
The developments have further exacerbated tensions between the White House and Democrats in the lower chamber who are pursuing sweeping investigations into Trump and his administration.
In an earlier statement, Nadler characterized Trump’s instructions to McGahn as “the latest act of obstruction” by his White House. A spokesman for Nadler did not immediately return a request for comment on Burck’s letter Monday evening.
The Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn for documents and public testimony in April as part of an investigation into alleged obstruction and abuses of power by Trump. McGahn is viewed as a key witness among Democrats, particularly because of his testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller on Trump’s potential obstruction of the Russia investigation.
Earlier this month, the White House instructed McGahn not to comply with the document request from the committee and demanded Nadler’s panel take its requests directly to the White House. McGahn did not turn over the documents sought by the panel.
On Monday, the White House released a legal opinion from the Justice Department arguing McGahn should not appear for testimony over concerns about separation of powers.
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) said in its 15-page letter that McGahn is not “legally required” to testify about matters related to his work for Trump, citing decades of precedent under Democratic and Republican administrations in asserting White House aides cannot be compelled to speak to Congress about their official duties.
“The immunity of the President’s immediate advisers from compelled congressional testimony on matters related to their official responsibilities has long been recognized and arises from the fundamental workings of the separation of powers,” the letter states.
Burck pointed to the OLC opinion in his letter as well as the letter White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent to Nadler earlier in the day.