White House

Federal Judge Rules McGahn Must Testify in Impeachment Probe

Then-White House Counsel Don McGahn listens before the Senate Judiciary Committee, September 27, 2018. (Win McNamee/Pool via Reuters)

A federal judge ruled Monday that former White House counsel Don McGahn must submit to a subpoena and testify to Congress about his time in the White House as part of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, an Obama appointee, rejected the Justice Department’s claim that McGahn has “absolute immunity.” She also pushed back against the DOJ’s argument that federal courts should not involve themselves in conflicts between the legislative and executive branches of government.

“DOJ promotes a conception of separation-of-powers principles that gets these constitutional commands exactly backwards,” Jackson wrote in her decision. “In reality, it is a core tenet of this Nation’s founding that the powers of a monarch must be split between the branches of the government to prevent tyranny.”

The Trump administration said it plans to appeal the ruling.

McGahn’s made headlines earlier this year with his claim, cited in the Mueller report, that President Trump directed him to have the Justice Department fire the special counsel. Democrats believe his testimony could be critical to their investigations of the president.

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