Democrats’ legal battle to compel testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn is likely moot now that President Trump has been impeached, the Justice Department told a federal court Thursday.
Mr. McGahn’s testimony was sought by the House Judiciary Committee for the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats argued that he could shed some light on whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice, which was one of the two articles of impeachment approved Wednesday night by the House.
The Trump administration countered Wednesday that the case doesn’t need to be decided at all since Democrats already impeached the president. “The committee’s primary asserted need for subpoenaing McGahn — his potential testimony related to an obstruction-of-justice impeachment charge — appears to be moot,” Justice Department lawyers wrote.
Later, the department said if the court was to decide in favor of enforcing the McGahn subpoena, it should delay the order so the administration has time to file an appeal to the Supreme Court.
“If the Court were to disagree, it should at least leave the stay in place for a reasonable period to allow the Solicitor General to seek appropriate relief from the Supreme Court, especially given the serious question whether McGahn’s testimony is even relevant to the now-passed articles of impeachment,” department attorneys said.
A three-judge panel is set to hear the case on January 3.
U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson earlier this year denied the administration’s claims of absolute immunity. The Justice Department appealed her decision to the D.C. Circuit Court.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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