Posts tagged with "Former White House Counsel Don McGahn"

Nadler will sue to enforce McGahn subpoena

July 26, 2019

While former Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to provide a vivid or sensational account of his team’s investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and presidential wrongdoing, House Democrats still have another witness who may deliver the goods.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-New York) signaled late Thursday that he had delayed filing a lawsuit seeking to force former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with a Congressional subpoena until next week, according to a report by Talking Points Memo.

Calling McGahn “the main fact witness” of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Nadler told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that a lawsuit to enforce a subpoena for McGahn’s testimony would be filed early this coming week.

“You have to lay out the facts to the American people and it is very frustrating that the administration has systematically attacked the right of Congress to hold any administration accountable—opposed all our subpoenas and we have to break that log-jam in order to lay out the facts before the American people,” he said.

Nadler had said on July 24, in a press conference following the Mueller hearings, that the McGahn lawsuit would be filed by the end of this week.

The Judiciary Committee chair said on his Thursday CNN appearance that the House would likely file a separate lawsuit on Friday, July 26, seeking to compel the release of sealed grand jury materials from the Mueller investigation.

According to the Talking Points Memo, Nadler framed the lawsuits as the start of a volley of attempts to conduct proactive and vigorous oversight of the Trump administration, after mounting criticism and angst that the Democrats have moved too slowly on investigating the Executive Branch.

Nadler subpoenaed McGahn in April, seeking reams of documents from the former White House counsel as well as his testimony.

McGahn played a leading role in the obstruction volume of the Mueller report, threatening to resign rather than order Mueller’s firing and later refusing to deny news reports about Trump’s demand to do so.

Since Nadler issued the subpoena, the White House has maneuvered to keep McGahn out of Congress’s hands. Indeed, the White House directly ordered McGahn not to comply with the documentary subpoena.

Research contact: @TPM

Trump to Stephanopoulos: ‘I never suggested firing Mueller’

June 17, 2019

In addition to his assurances that “oppo” research on a political rival would be acceptable to “anyone” inside the Beltway—even if it were offered by a hostile nation such as Russia—President Donald Trump, told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos last week in an exclusive interview that he had “never suggested firing [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller.”

In doing so, ABC News noted, the president directly disputed the account of a key witness in Mueller’s investigation—former White House Counsel Don McGahn—saying that it “doesn’t matter” what McGahn testified to the special counsel’s team.

Taking it one step further, Trump told Stephanopoulos that McGahn “may have been confused” when he told Mueller that Trump instructed him multiple times to have the acting attorney general remove the special counsel because of perceived conflicts of interest.

“The story on that very simply: No. I was never going to fire Mueller. I never suggested firing Mueller,” Trump told Stephanopoulos, according to the ABC report.

But when Stephanopoulos pushed back and referenced McGahn’s testimony, Trump became defiant. “I don’t care what [McGahn] says, it doesn’t matter,” Trump said.

The rest of the ABC News transcript went as follows

“Why would [McGahn] lie under oath?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer,” Trump said. “Or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen— including you, including the media—that Robert Mueller was conflicted. Robert Mueller had a total conflict of interest.”

“And has to go?” Stephanopoulos followed up.

“I didn’t say that,” Trump insisted.

And if Trump has anything to do with it, McGahn will not be asked to set the record straight: At the president’s instruction, McGahn currently is fighting a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee to testify publicly about those conversations with Trump, among other things, the Times reports.

Research contact: @ABC

House Dems to hold contempt vote against Barr and McGahn on June 11

June 5, 2019

The House will vote next week on a resolution to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress, Politico reports.

Barr—who misrepresented the findings of the Mueller report to Congress and the U.S. public, according to the investigators—also has failed to comply with a subpoena for a fully unredacted copy of the report and underlying evidence; McGahn balked at a subpoena to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

According to Politico, the resolution, to be introduced on June 11, would clear the way for the House Judiciary Committee to take Barr and McGahn to court to enforce their subpoenas; and would enable Democrats to set in motion their obstruction of justice investigation against President Donald Trump.

“This Administration’s systematic refusal to provide Congress with answers and cooperate with Congressional subpoenas is the biggest cover-up in American history, and Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight on behalf of the American people,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement.

The vote also will offer broad authority for congressional committees to take legal action against the Trump administration in future subpoena fights, Democratic sources told the news outlet.

The vote—which is supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Hoyer, and other top members of House leadership—will authorize the House to hold the two men in civil contempt. Democrats will forgo an effort to hold them in criminal contempt—which Democratic sources described as an empty gesture because Barr, in particular, would never face charges from his own Justice Department.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said on June 1 that he was pressing for a floor vote on contempt for Barr as quickly as possible so that the committee could take Barr to court and attempt to enforce its subpoena.

The move comes as a growing number of House Democrats are calling for Trump’s impeachment—and they may not be satisfied with a slap at his attorney general, Politico said.

Meanwhile, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are threatening to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena seeking information about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Research contact: @politico

Gag order? White House may invoke executive privilege to block McGahn testimony

April 25, 2019

President Donald Trump is considering invoking executive privilege to prevent former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying before Congress, a top adviser told The Hill in a report posted on April 24.

The move comes despite the fact that the president did not invoke executive privilege before McGahn spoke extensively with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team on as many as three occasions. Experts have said that POTUS cannot “revive” the executive privilege after it already has been waived.

“Executive privilege is on the table,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters. “That’s his right. There’s a reason our democracy and our Constitutional government allow for that.”

Such a move would escalate the political and legal battle between the White House and Congressional Democrats over House-led investigations in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia probe,l The Hill said.

Trump has signaled he will stonewall Democrats—saying there is “no reason” to cooperate with Congressional investigations into his administration, campaign, and businesses that he views as politically motivated.

The former White House counsel’s name was mentioned more than 150 times in the special counsel’s report, which was redacted in part. Trump is angry with McGahn, believing he was disloyal and helped paint a damaging picture of his presidency, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking.

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn on April 22 to appear before the panel.

Research contact: @thehill

Whodunnit? House Judiciary Committee intends to find out

March 5, 2019

It reads like a whodunnit. On March 4, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) announced that he and his colleagues would investigate alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Donald Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration—among them, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, David Pecker of American Media, former White House Counsel Don McGahn, Trump son-in-law and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, Trump buddy Roger Stone; and the president’s sons, Eric and Donald, Jr.

As a first step, the committee has served document requests to 81 agencies, entities, and individuals believed to have information relevant to the investigation (see full list). 

“Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” said Nadler.

“Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee,” he noted. “We have seen the damage done to our democratic institutions in the two years that the Congress refused to conduct responsible oversight.

“Congress must provide a check on abuses of power,” said the committee chairman. “Equally, we must protect and respect the work of Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller, but we cannot rely on others to do the investigative work for us.  Our work is even more urgent after senior Justice Department officials have suggested that they may conceal the work of the Special Counsel’s investigation from the public.

Nadler explained,“We have sent these document requests in order to begin building the public record.  The Special Counsel’s office and the Southern District of New York are aware that we are taking these steps.  We will act quickly to gather this information, assess the evidence, and follow the facts where they lead with full transparency with the American people.  This is a critical time for our nation, and we have a responsibility to investigate these matters and hold hearings for the public to have all the facts.  That is exactly what we intend to do.”

The Committee’s investigation will cover three main areas:

  • Obstruction of Justice, including the possibility of interference by the president and others in a number of criminal investigations and other official proceedings, as well as the alleged cover-up of violations of the law;
  • Public Corruption, including potential violations of the emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution, conspiracy to violate federal campaign and financial reporting laws, and other criminal misuses of official positions for personal gain; and
  • Abuses of Power, including attacks on the press, the judiciary, and law enforcement agencies; misuse of the pardon power and other presidential authorities; and attempts to misuse the power of the Office of the Presidency.

For the two years that the Trump administration has been in power, “in the absence of responsible oversight by the Republican Majority,” the House Judiciary Committee Democrats say that they have written—but received no response to—over 100 letters to the White House, the Administration, and House Republican Leadership documenting the failings of the Trump Administration and demanding accountability. With this investigation, they intend to finally get their questions answered.

Research contact: @RepJerryNadler