he House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday filed suit to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn’s testimony, arguing that the committee needs to hear from him to determine whether it should consider articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
…Trump directed McGahn to flout the committee’s subpoena for documents and testimony following the publication of the report by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and the Trump administration has argued that McGahn and other close advisers to the President have “absolute immunity” from congressional testimony due to executive privilege.
The outcome of the court fight that Democrats started on Wednesday could set the precedent for a litany of House subpoenas attempting to obtain documents or compel testimony from various officials in the Trump administration, as well as for future fights over executive privilege between the executive and legislative branches.
…House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referenced the lawsuit in a letter to colleagues Wednesday, in another signal that she’s opening the door to considering impeachment.
…McGahn did not appear when the committee gaveled into session in May for his hearing, setting the stage for a House vote to go to court to enforce McGahn’s subpoena. The subpoena to McGahn is one of a number the committee has issued and been rebuffed by the White House: both former communications director Hope Hicks and former McGahn deputy Annie Donaldson did not answer nearly all of the questions that the committee asked of them related to their time at the White House.
…When President George W. Bush’s former top counsel, Harriet Miers, and his former chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, did not comply with subpoenas issued by the Judiciary Committee, a judge ruled in 2008 that they couldn’t ignore them.
…McGahn, no longer in the administration and now represented by a private attorney, isn’t protected from testimony by the same attorney-client confidentiality as other lawyers because his client wasn’t President Donald Trump or any one person when he served as White House counsel.
…The special counsel’s investigation documented how Trump told McGahn to fire the special counsel, which he did not do, and then told McGahn to lie publicly about Trump telling him to dismiss Mueller.