Ex-White House Counsel McGhan defies House Subpoena, Skips Hearing. What now?

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House judiciary chair Nadler accused Donald Trump of multiple crimes on McGahn no show hearing//Crimson Tazvinzwa

The president has directed former White House Counsel Don McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena and skip a House Judiciary hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

The US House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing on Tuesday with another empty chair at the witness table, as former White House counsel Don McGahn refused to testify.

In a further escalation of a struggle between President Donald Trump and Congress over its power to investigate him, the White House on Monday told McGahn, who left his post in October, to disregard a subpoena from the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee subpoena to appear at the hearing.MICHAEL COHEN ON SEKULOWThe panel is investigating Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s inquiry into Russian election meddling. Attorney General William Barr on May 2 also snubbed the committee, which later voted to hold him in contempt of Congress for not handing over an unredacted copy of Mueller’s final report.

“Our subpoenas are not optional,” Jerrod Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said during the opening remarks of Tuesday’s hearing. “Mr McGahn has a legal obligation to be here for his scheduled appearance. If he does not immediately correct his mistake, this committee will have no choice but to enforce the subpoena against him.”

Trump is stonewalling numerous congressional inquiries into himself, his turbulent presidency, his family and his sprawling business interests, which he did not divest or put into a blind trust when he took office in January 2018.

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Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, US Representative Jerry Nadler, speaks during a hearing where former White House lawyer Don McGhan is expected to testify on the Mueller report [Mandel Ngan/AFP] 
Trump and most fellow Republicans in Congress dismissed the inquiries as political harassment in advance of the 2020 elections.

Late on Monday, the Department of Justice issued a legal opinion saying McGahn did not need to appear at the hearing, while McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, wrote that his client would not testify before the committee unless it reached an agreement with the White House.

In a letter sent to McGahn, Nadler told the former White House counsel that he would “risk serious consequences” if he failed to show up to testify.

“Should you fail to do so, the committee is prepared to use all enforcement mechanisms at its disposal,” Nadler wrote.

 

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