Judge denies Justice Department request for stay on McGahn testimony

Former White House counsel Don McGahn was subpoenaed in April but has yet to testify before the House Judiciary Committee due to lengthening legal proceedings. Photo by Jim Bourg/UPI

Dec. 3 (UPI) — A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled against the Department of Justice’s request for a long-term stay on a subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in ongoing impeachment proceedings, calling its argument “disingenuous.”

U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson last week issued an administrative stay of seven days in response to the Justice Department’s motion for one pending its appeal to the original decision.

On Monday, Jackson rejected the department’s appeal for a longer stay, saying the department’s argument that the Judiciary Committee will not be harmed by it “seems disingenuous, and therefore, is unpersuasive.”

She also decided to lift her original stay, stating the Justice Department’s chances of winning its appeal are “exceeding low.”

“This court has no doubt that further delay of the Judiciary Committee’s enforcement of its valid subpoena causes grave harm to both the Committee’s investigation and the interests of the public more broadly,” she said in her 17-page ruling.

Jackson, a President Barack Obama appointee, had issued the original stay two days after she ruled against the White House’s attempt to block McGahn from giving testimony, saying “presidents are not kings.”

McGahn was subpoenaed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler in April before impeachment proceedings were announced. Nadler then filed a lawsuit in August after McGahn defied to comply with the subpoena at President Donald Trump’s directive.

McGahn was dismissed from the White House in August 2018 after he shared information about the president possibly attempting to interfere with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

On Monday, Jackson said interference with a House Committee’s constitutionally assigned function to investigate potential abuses of power injures both the House and the public.

“Thus, far from DOJ’s ‘no additional harm, no foul’ attitude, it is clear that the Judiciary Committee’s ongoing investigation will be further hampered if the Committee loses its ability to question McGahn altogether (effectively or not) during the current impeachment inquiry,” she said.


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