Former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn
Jacquelyn Martin/AP File Photo
While expected, the move from DOJ means that the primary congressional panel responsible for drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump likely won’t hear anytime soon from McGahn, one of the star witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.
Jackson’s 120-page opinion found that “no one is above the law” and took issue with Trump’s efforts to stonewall congressional oversight by hindering the collection of testimony from key witnesses.
“Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings,” Jackson wrote.
But DOJ on Tuesday responded by requesting a new hearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, as well as asking Jackson for a temporary stay on her ruling for McGahn to testify.
If a pause is granted, McGahn’s lawyer said he’ll wait to decide on whether to appear before the House panel until after the case has been decided.
The same appellate court has already put an administrative stay on another lower court decision favorable to Democrats ordering up the release of Mueller’s most sensitive grand jury materials, though a ruling is expected soon on the underlying arguments at the center of that DOJ request.
McGahn testified for 30 hours to the Mueller team and described multiple incidents where the president tried to either stymie or outright kill the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Democrats are now weighing whether to include articles of impeachment tied to the Mueller report, including potential obstruction of justice.