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OpinionTrump's argument to block McGahn from testifying is nuts

00:00  22 may  2019
00:00  22 may  2019 Source:   cnn.com

There's a huge loophole in a new DOJ filing that Trump cited to block Don McGahn from testifying before Congress

There's a huge loophole in a new DOJ filing that Trump cited to block Don McGahn from testifying before Congress The 15-page memo leave out one important possibility.

Elie Honig writes that Trump ' s reasoning for blocking Don McGahn 's testimony is premised on a faulty and unsupported legal argument that senior advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress.

Elie Honig writes that Trump ' s reasoning for blocking Don McGahn 's testimony is premised on a faulty and unsupported legal argument that senior advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress.

Trump's argument to block McGahn from testifying is nuts© Getty Images

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

On Monday, President Donald Trump launched a long-shot effort to prevent the public from hearing live testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn -- the man who, perhaps more than any other, can bring to life Trump's most flagrant alleged acts of obstruction of justice.

According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, in June 2017, Trump instructed McGahn to have then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein remove Special Counsel Robert Mueller. McGahn defied this order. Then, according to the report, in early 2018, Trump told McGahn to falsely deny media reports that Trump had tried to fire Mueller. McGahn, again, refused to comply.

Ex-White House lawyer won't testify after Trump direction

Ex-White House lawyer won't testify after Trump direction President Donald Trump has directed former White House Counsel Donald McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena, citing a Justice Department legal opinion that maintains McGahn would have immunity from testifying about his work as a close Trump adviser. A lawyer for McGahn says he will follow the president's orders and skip a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday.

how earnestly President Trump was suggesting that he'd try to block former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying before Congress. During that conversation, the possibility of Trump trying to withhold testimony by McGahn came up, including his testimony about Trump ’ s desire to

President Donald Trump has directed former White House counsel Donald McGahn to not testify on Tuesday before Congress about events relating to special counsel Robert Mueller' s investigation, the White House said on Monday. Late Monday afternoon, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep.

This is the textbook definition of obstruction of justice, and McGahn's testimony threatens to expose this to millions of Americans across the country who haven't read the Mueller report.

The White House previously invoked executive privilege in an effort to prevent McGahn from producing documents to Congress. Now the White House -- perhaps recognizing that its executive privilege invocation would likely fail on the legal merits -- has changed tack and instead made an even broader claim that Congress cannot ever compel testimony from a senior adviser to the President.

This is nuts. The White House is relying on a brand new memo from the Office of Legal Counsel claiming that, as an absolute matter of separation of powers and executive branch autonomy, Congress cannot force the President's senior advisers to testify.

Nadler threatens to hold McGahn in contempt

Nadler threatens to hold McGahn in contempt House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is threatening to hold former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt if he does not testify publicly on Tuesday before Congress. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); "First thing we are going to do is hold McGahn in contempt," Nadler told CNN on Monday night, noting that the committee intends to then enforce such citations for defying congressional subpoenas in court.

President Donald Trump has directed former White House counsel Donald McGahn to not testify on Tuesday before Congress about events relating to special counsel Robert Mueller' s investigation, the White House said on Monday. Late Monday afternoon, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep.

Trump had ordered McGahn not to testify — a move that could earn Trump more articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice. However, if this ruling stands, other Trump officials who have refused to testify in the House impeachment investigation — including former national security

Notably, the memo cites not a single court decision to support this novel proposition. The memo does begrudgingly note in passing that the only court opinion on the matter, a 2008 decision relating to testimony from former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, actually reaches the opposite conclusion: Senior advisers to the President are not immune from compelled congressional testimony.

Of course, there is also extensive precedent against the White House's position. Senior advisers to presidents of both parties have testified in Congress routinely -- and over many decades. The White House's new position would effectively put an end to that longstanding and not particularly controversial practice, or at least give the executive branch a hook on which to selectively prevent some advisers from testifying.

Most fundamentally, the White House's position further threatens the balance of powers between the White House and Congress. If Trump gets his way on this, then the congressional power to conduct oversight is all but doomed.

Trump attacks Mueller as a 'true never-Trumper'

Trump attacks Mueller as a 'true never-Trumper' Impeachment is a "dirty filthy disgusting word," Trump added as impeachment talk ramped up after Mueller's Wednesday statement.

Trump ' s argument to block McGahn from testifying is nuts . Judge Mehta rejected the White House' s argument that Congress overstepped its authority, noting that the key question is whether the congressional subpoena serves any legitimate legislative purpose -- even a broad or hypothetical one.

President Donald Trump sought to distance himself from his decision to direct McGahn not to testify Tuesday and sought to cast The White House' s move to block McGahn has similarities to President George W. Bush' s efforts to prevent his former White House counsel, Harriet Miers, from testifying .

Trump's game here is to throw the kitchen sink at the problem and, at a minimum, delay McGahn's testimony. If Congress is serious about hearing from McGahn, then it needs to skip the ceremonial contempt votes, take the issue to court and insist on an expedited ruling from a judge. (And if Monday's expedited ruling from a DC District Court judge, ordering Trump's accounting firm to turn over financial records to the House Oversight Committee is any indication, several judges may be willing to take swift action.)

Anything short of that plays right into Trump's hands.


Read More

Trump Expected to Instruct McGahn to Defy Subpoena and Skip House Testimony.
President Trump is preparing to instruct his former White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, to defy a congressional subpoena and skip a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, denying Democrats testimony from one of the most important eyewitnesses to Mr. Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation, a person briefed on the matter said on Monday. 

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