Stoking the political war between President Donald Trump and Congress, the White House has decided to block Don McGahn from testifying.
In a statement supplied to The Washington Post, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that the directive is based on the Justice Department’s legal opinion, stating that the action had been taken “in order to ensure that future presidents can effectively execute the responsibilities of the office of the presidency.”
In agreement with his press secretary, President Trump described the decision as a “very important precedent,” suggesting that it is meant to protect the office of the president as such and not him personally.
It comes as no surprise that House Democrats are taking aim at Don McGahn, given that the former White House counsel has emerged as a central figure in the Mueller report. Mueller, who cleared the Trump campaign of conspiracy with Russia, seemingly left the door open when it comes to obstruction of justice by the president, leaving the matter up to Congress.
Don McGahn, according to the Mueller report, was an important witness since he told the special counsel’s office that Trump had pressured him to oust Robert Mueller. McGahn refused to comply with the president’s orders, perhaps saving him from prosecution, but he has nevertheless been summoned by House Democrats looking to further investigate potential obstruction of justice by the president.
The White House’s decision to block McGhan from testifying therefore hardly comes as a surprise, but according to some legal experts the former Trump official is in fact not immune from being compelled to testify, Newsweek reports.
“This is what mob bosses do, not presidents,” said former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Joyce Vance.
Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe opined that the White House’s position cannot be by the law “when the House is exercising its power to investigate whether the president has committed impeachable offenses.”
“The OLC/Cipollone view would rip the Impeachment Power root and branch out of the Constitution,” he explained.
MSNBC’s legal analyst Matthew Miller urged McGahn to ignore the White House and testify about what he described as “a cancer on the presidency.”
“Think about your place in history,” Miller tweeted.
Former White House counsel Don McGahn’s refusal to comply with a subpoena has led some House Democrats to step up talk of impeaching President Trump https://t.co/2naOleES1t— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) May 21, 2019
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, McGahn’s conversations with Mueller have allegedly made Trump furious.
The president is reportedly growing increasingly concerned about his current aides “betraying” him while fuming at cable news coverage of the Mueller report, which paints an unflattering picture of a dysfunctional White House in which staffers routinely disobey the commander in chief’s orders.