The leading Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee promised Tuesday to go to court if needed to seek former White Home Counsel Don McGahn’s testimony, after he defied a subpoena and avoided a committee hearing at President Trump’s instructions.
The move exasperated Democrats and touched off what might be another high-profile battle over holding a Trump authorities in contempt of Congress.
” Let me be clear, this committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testament, even if we need to go to court to protect it,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N. Y, stated at the start of the hearing which McGahn did not attend.
MCGAHN VALIDATES HE WILL SKIP HOUSE HEARING, AS DOJ ASSERTS ‘IMMUNITY’
Accusing Trump of witness intimidation, Nadler included, “When this committee concerns a subpoena, even to a senior presidential advisor, the witness needs to appear. Our subpoenas are not optional.”
While he did not specifically mention contempt, Nadler informed CNN on Monday night that legislators would pursue that path.
A day previously, the president directed McGahn to not stand for the committee hearing, mentioning a Justice Department opinion that he can not be obliged to testify about his main duties.
” Simply put, the president took it upon himself to intimidate a witness who has a legal responsibility to be here today,” Nadler said. “This conduct is not remotely acceptable.”
However Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member on the committee, reacted to Nadler’s remarks by accusing Democrats of political theatrics, stating they are “attempting frantically to make something out of nothing.”
” I can not highlight this adequate– the chairman’s performance history demonstrates he does not in fact desire information,” Collins stated. “He wants the battle, however not the fact.”
Previously this month, House Democrats decided to question an empty chair– together with a prop chicken — when Lawyer General Bill Barr stopped working to appear mentioning Democrats’ uncommon demands.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, White Home Press Secretary Sarah Sanders blasted Democrats for continuing to pursue Trump investigations, saying they desire a “inefficient and unneeded do-over” in the wake of Unique Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe– and describing the subpoena for McGahn as part of that.
The related DOJ memo stated McGahn, like other senior advisers to a president, has “resistance” from being compelled to affirm about his main duties.
” This resistance uses to the former White House Counsel. Accordingly, Mr. McGahn is not lawfully required to appear and testify about matters associated with his main responsibilities as Counsel to the President,” the memo stated.
The committee announced the hearing recently, however it was at first uncertain whether McGahn would appear due to the continuous battle in between congressional Democrats and the White House over his statement.
The committee, led by Nadler, subpoenaed McGahn on April 22, days after the release of Mueller’s report, which included McGahn plainly in its section related to the blockage of justice query. This consisted of a claim that McGahn disobeyed Trump’s call to have him seek Mueller’s elimination.
The report likewise exposed that when the media reported on the president’s request, the president directed White House officials “to tell McGahn to contest the story and create a record mentioning he had not been bought to have the unique counsel removed.” He did not.
Your home committee’s subpoena, coming amid a fight over access to the unredacted Mueller report, called for McGahn to appear before the panel to testify and provide files associated with the Mueller examination.
The fight over McGahn’s statement is simply one front in the clash between the White Home and congressional Democrats.
Earlier this month, the committee voted to hold Barr in contempt for defying a subpoena for Mueller’s complete and unredacted report, as well as underlying evidence and documents utilized in the examination.
Trump, prior to the vote, asserted executive advantage over the materials in a bid to secure them from being committed the committee. The capacity has yet to take a last vote on whether to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.