Court: McGahn Doesn't Have to Testify

Trump Wins a Ruling Reversing House Democrats' November Victory
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2020 5:10 PM CST
Court Sides With Trump on McGahn Testimony
White House counsel Don McGahn does not have to testify before a congressional committee, a court has ruled.   (Jim Bourg/Pool Photo via AP)

A federal appeals court decided Friday that House Democrats can't force former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before them. The panel's 2-1 vote provides President Trump a victory in his effort to keep top advisers from testifying before Congress, as he did during the impeachment hearings, Politico reports. Justice Department lawyers had said the Constitution is clear that the courts have no place in disagreements between the other two branches of government. "We agree and dismiss this case," the court wrote. A lower court had upheld a House Judiciary Committee subpoena in November, per the Washington Post. In that case, a district judge had disagreed with White House lawyers who argued that McGahn and other top presidential aides are "absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony."

"The Committee’s suit asks us to settle a dispute that we have no authority to resolve," the opinion issued Friday said. The dissenting judge said the ruling could make it possible for presidents to block attempts at oversight at will, per ABC. "The court removes any incentive for the Executive Branch to engage in the negotiation process seeking accommodation, all but assures future Presidential stonewalling of Congress, and further impairs the House’s ability to perform its constitutional duties," the judge wrote. (Read more Don McGahn stories.)

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