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McGahn's case appealed after judge says he must comply with subpoena

CBS News logo CBS News 11/26/2019 Kathryn Watson

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Former White House counsel Don McGahn, through Justice Department attorneys, has appealed a federal judge's decision that he must comply with a congressional subpoena. The expected appeal comes after Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled Monday night demanding that McGahn testify before the House Judiciary Committee, rejecting the administration's claims of absolute executive privilege. 

On Monday, Jackson wrote that "the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that presidents are not kings." White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the ruling "contradicts longstanding legal precedent established by administrations of both political parties." 

Justice Department lawyers are appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and requested a stay in the case. House Democrats filed the lawsuit in August to compel McGahn to testify, after former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation revealed the president asked McGahn to fire Mueller

The former White House counsel, who is being represented by Justice Department lawyers, was a key witness in the Russia investigation. But Jackson's ruling could have significant ramifications for Democrats' impeachment inquiry, in which multiple top administration officials have rejected subpoenas at the desire of the Trump administration. 

An attorney for former national security adviser John Bolton and former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman told CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid that they will continue with their own lawsuit to determine whether former White House officials must comply with congressional subpoenas. 

The president took to Twitter Tuesday morning to say too much is being made of the Monday night decision in the McGahn case, and said he would "love" to have other administration officials testify, but doesn't want to compromise future presidents. 

"The D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much into people being forced by Courts to testify before Congress. I am fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President. Other than that, I would actually like people to testify," the president wrote. 

"Don McGahn's respected ......lawyer has already stated that I did nothing wrong. John Bolton is a patriot and may know that I held back the money from Ukraine because it is considered a corrupt country, & I wanted to know why nearby European countries weren't putting up money also. Likewise, I would ....... love to have Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Mick Mulvaney and many others testify about the phony Impeachment Hoax. It is a Democrat Scam that is going nowhere but, future Presidents should in no way be compromised. What has happened to me should never happen to another President!"


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