Trump blocks former White House counsel from testifying to Congress

Team Trump thumbed its nose at House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler again Monday — telling him that ex-White House counsel Don McGhan will ignore a subpoena to testify before the panel on Tuesday.

“The House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena to try and force Mr. McGahn to testify again. The Department of Justice has provided a legal opinion stating that, based on long-standing, bipartisan, and Constitutional precedent, the former Counsel to the President cannot be forced to give such testimony, and Mr. McGahn has been directed to act accordingly,” administration spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

“This action has been taken in order to ensure that future Presidents can effectively execute the responsibilities of the Office of the Presidency.”

Trump’s refusal to let House members question McGhan — who was grilled by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team for up to 30 hours during his Russia probe — was the president’s latest effort to stonewall House Democrats, who are pursuing multiple lines of inquiry related to the commander in chief.

But Sanders said, in effect, that since McGhan already cooperated with Mueller no further questioning was necessary.

“At the President’s direction, the White House has been completely transparent with the Special Counsel’s investigation. The Special Counsel received more than 1.4 million documents and hours and hours of interviews from White House officials, including more than 30 hours from former Counsel to the President, Don McGahn,” Sanders said.

“ The Democrats do not like the conclusion of the Mueller investigation – no collusion, no conspiracy, and no obstruction – and want a wasteful and unnecessary do-over.”

Attorney General Bill Barr said that Mueller had ruled out collusion, and that he didn’t believe there was sufficient evidence of obstruction — a conclusion Mueller did not make himself.

In a letter to Nadler, current White House counsel Pat Cipollone said that McGhan had “constitutional immunity” and could not be compelled to testify before the committee, which subpoenaed him last month.

Cipollone based his opinion on a letter produced by Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel — a Trump appointee — that outlined the legal reasoning behind the denial.

Nadler had described McGahn, who stepped down in October 2018, as “a critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Special Counsel’s report.”

“The Special Counsel’s report, even in redacted form, outlines substantial evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction and other abuses,” Nadler said.

“His [McGahn’s] testimony will help shed further light on the President’s attacks on the rule of law, and his attempts to cover up those actions by lying to the American people and requesting others do the same,” said Nadler, who didn’t immediately have a response.

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