McGahn confirms he will skip House hearing, as DOJ asserts ‘immunity’ and Nadler fumes
White House instructs former counsel Don McGahn to defy congressional subpoena
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler had threatened to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress if he doesn’t testify; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports.
President Trump has directed former White House Counsel Don McGahn to skip a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday, citing a Justice Department opinion that he cannot be compelled to testify about his official duties — and, through his legal team, McGahn confirmed Monday evening that he won't appear.
The development prompted an obstinate response late Monday from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.: “We are having the hearing tomorrow and we’re expecting Mr. McGahn to show pursuant to the subpoena."
Earlier this month, House Democrats opted to question an empty chair — and a bucket of fried chicken — when Attorney General Bill Barr failed to appear, citing Democrats' unusual demands.
In a letter to Nadler, McGahn attorney William Burck said his client won't show up. Burck said current White House Counsel Pat Cipollone had communicated that Trump had instructed McGahn not to testify, and that Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel had said McGahn was immune from testifying.
"Mr. McGahn understands from your prior correspondence that the Committee would vote to hold him in contempt should he not appear tomorrow and the House of Representatives may follow suit," Burck wrote to Nadler. "While we disagree with the Committee’s position and hope it will instead seek an accommodation with the White House, Mr. McGahn also must honor his ethical and legal obligations as a former senior lawyer and senior advisor to the President. In short, it is our view that the Committee’s dispute is not with Mr. McGahn but with the White House."
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