Democrats subpoena ex-White House counsel
Washington – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Monday subpoenaed former White House Counsel Don McGahn for testimony following the special counsel’s report that said McGahn refused President Donald Trump’s request to curb or cut off the Russia investigation.
The New York Democrat announced his court action to compel McGahn to testify before the panel and provide documents. According to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, McGahn was among the Trump aides who effectively halted the president’s efforts to influence the investigation, rebuffing his demand to set Mueller’s firing in motion.
“The Special Counsel’s report, even in redacted form, outlines substantial evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction and other abuses,” Nadler said in a statement. “It now falls to Congress to determine for itself the full scope of the misconduct and to decide what steps to take in the exercise of our duties of oversight, legislation and constitutional accountability.”
The subpoena angered Republicans even as it functioned as a reassurance to impatient Democrats who have called for Trump’s impeachment. Nadler released the statement and the subpoena as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a conference call urged rank-and-file Democrats to let the investigative process establish facts before talking up impeachment.
Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary panel, pointed out that McGahn sat for 30 hours of interviews with Mueller and said Nadler was asking for some items that he knows cannot be produced.
McGahn was a vital witness for Mueller, recounting the president’s outrage over the investigation and his efforts to curtail it.
He described, for instance, being called at home by the president on the night of June 17, 2017, and directed to call the Justice Department and say that Mueller had conflicts of interest and should be removed. McGahn declined the command, “deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre,” the Mueller report said.
Once that episode became public in the news media, the president demanded that McGahn dispute the reports and asked him why he had told Mueller about it and why he had taken notes of their conversations. McGahn refused to back down, the report said.
Nadler’s announcement came as he joined Pelosi on a conference call with rank-and-file Democrats for the first caucus-wide discussion of the Mueller report since it was released on Thursday. In a letter earlier Monday, Pelosi acknowledged that the party’s officeholders have a range of views on how to proceed. But she counseled them repeatedly to go after facts, not resort to “passion or prejudice” in the intense run-up to the 2020 presidential and congressional elections.
She is the de facto leader of her party until Democrats nominate a presidential candidate.
“We all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” Pelosi wrote. “It is also important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.”
Either way, Trump insisted he wasn’t worried.
“Not even a little bit,” he said when asked Monday whether he was concerned about impeachment. However, his many tweets indicate he is hardly shrugging it aside.