The House Judiciary Committee is set to question former White House attorney Don McGahn behind closed doors this Friday, two years after House Democrats originally sought his testimony as part of investigations into former President Donald Trump.
The long-awaited interview is the result of a settlement reached last month in federal court. House Democrats, who later investigated whether Trump attempted to obstruct Justice Department investigations into his presidential campaign ties to Russia, originally filed a lawsuit after McGahn challenged an April 2019 subpoena on Trump’s orders.
That same month, the Justice Department released a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the matter.
In the report, Mueller deliberately did not exonerate President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice, but also did not recommend prosecuting him, citing Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president. Mueller’s report extensively cited interviews with McGahn, who described the president’s efforts to quell the investigation.
While the judicial panel ultimately won their fight over McGahn’s testimony, the court settlement almost guarantees that they will learn nothing new. The two parties agreed that McGahn will only be questioned about information attributed to him in publicly available parts of the Mueller report.
Still, House Democrats kept the case going, even after Trump’s presidency, and are moving forward with the interview to make an example of the former White House adviser.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, said the agreement to McGahn’s testimony is a good faith commitment that “satisfies our subpoena, protects the Committee’s constitutional duty to conduct oversight in the future and safeguards the sensitive prerogatives of the executive power. ”
It’s unclear what House Democrats will make of the testimony, which they sought before impeaching Trump twice. The Senate cleared Trump of impeachment charges both times.
As an attorney for the White House, McGahn had an insider’s view of many of the episodes that Mueller and his team examined for possible obstruction of justice during the Russia investigation.
McGahn proved to be a pivotal, and damning, witness against Trump, and his name is mentioned hundreds of times in the text of the Mueller report and its footnotes.
He described to investigators the president’s repeated efforts to quell the investigation and the directives he said he received from the president that made him nervous.
He recounted how Trump had demanded that he contact then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to order him not to excuse himself from the Russia investigation.
McGahn also said that Trump had implored him to tell the deputy attorney general at the time, Rod Rosenstein, to remove Mueller from office due to perceived conflicts of interest and, after that episode was reported in the media, to deny it. publicly and falsely a claim had ever been made.
Closed since the end of October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it reopens with the figure of Biden. A little further down the corridors of the museum, the statue of President Barack Obama still stands, smiling serenely, but the one of Donald Trump has been dismantled and stored.
McGahn also described the circumstances that led to Trump’s firing of James Comey as director of the FBI, including the president’s insistence on including in the termination letter the fact that Comey had assured Trump that he was not personally under investigation. .
And he was present in a critical conversation early in the Trump administration, when Sally Yates, just before she was fired as acting attorney general as an Obama holdover appointee, relayed concerns to McGahn about new national security adviser Michael Flynn.
She raised the possibility that Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and his subsequent interview with the FBI, left him vulnerable to blackmail.
Trump’s Justice Department fought efforts to get McGahn to testify, but US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson rejected Trump’s arguments in 2019 that his close advisers were immune from congressional subpoena. President Joe Biden nominated Jackson to the court of appeals in Washington.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.