Former White House Counsel Don McGahn must honor a congressional subpoena and testify before Congress, a federal judge in the nation’s capitol ruled Monday.
U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled that McGahn, who played a major role in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report focused on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, must appear before Congress in response to the subpoena, but can assert legal privileges during his testimony.
House Democrats began seeking McGahn’s testimony after the Mueller report went public, and his testimony is now being sought as part of an ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The Trump administration has tried to block him and other current and former administration officials from appearing before Congress. The administration quickly announced it would appeal and seek to block Jackson’s ruling that McGahn must honor the subpoena.
“Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings,” Jackson wrote. “This means that they do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control. Rather, in this land of liberty, it is indisputable that current and former employees of the White House work for the People of the United States, and that they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Moreover, as citizens of the United States, current and former senior-level presidential aides have constitutional rights, including the right to free speech, and they retain these rights even after they have transitioned back into private life.”