- The Washington Times
Monday, April 22, 2019

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn on Monday, requiring he appear in front of Congress by the end of next month.

He is the first current or former member of the Trump administration to be issued a subpoena since a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released to Congress and the public last week. Other officials received subpoenas earlier this month.

The committee is giving Mr. McGahn until May 7 to deliver documents of communications regarding Michael Flynn, James B. Comey, Jeff Sessions and any discussions of firing or resignations from key officials, including Mr. Mueller.

His testimony is set for May 21.

Mr. McGahn became a flash point after the Mueller report revealed he threatened to quit his post at the White House after President Trump asked him to fire Mr. Mueller in June 2017.

Mr. McGahn cooperated extensively with Mueller’s team, sharing notes he took during his time in the White House. His name appears prominently throughout the report.

In June 2017, the president ordered Mr. McGahn to fire the special counsel after reports surfaced Mr. Mueller had started an obstruction of justice inquiry, the report said. Mr. Trump called Mr. McGahn at home and directed him to call the acting attorney general to say that Mr. Mueller must be fired because of “conflicts of interest,” according to the report.

Fearing a potential “Saturday Night Massacre,” Mr. McGahn refused, indicating he would rather resign than fire Mr. Mueller, the report said.

Ultimately, Mr. McGahn stayed.

Mr. McGahn eventually left the administration in October 2018 after having a key role in pushing Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation through the Senate last summer.

At the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, Mr. Trump was asked about officials, such as Mr. McGahn, who disobeyed or counteracted some of his directives, according to the Mueller report. “Nobody disobeys my orders,” the president responded.

Democrats see Mr. McGahn’s testimony as vital to their own investigations into whether the president tried to obstruct the special counsel investigation.

“Mr. McGahn is a critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Mueller report,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. “His testimony will help shed further light off the president’s attack son the rule of law and attempts to cover up those actions by lying to the American people and requesting others do the same.”

Democrats are discussing their plans for investigations, the Mueller report, and where they stand on impeachment in a caucus-wide conference call.

The party appears to be deeply divided over starting impeachment proceedings — with several prominent Democrats already ramping up pressure on House leadership to take action.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted to rein in the growing frenzy in a letter to her party Monday afternoon.

“While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” she wrote. “It is also important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.”

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, criticized the decision to “prematurely” subpoena Mr. McGahn rather than reading through a less redacted version of the special counsel report.

“Don McGahn sat for more than 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel’s investigation and the chairman has answered that with a stunning 36-item subpoena,” he said in a statement.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.