Politics, World, Americas

Ex-White House counsel told to ignore subpoena

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney cites executive branch confidentiality

Michael Hernandez   | 07.05.2019
Ex-White House counsel told to ignore subpoena


Former White House counsel has been advised by U.S. President Donald Trump's chief of staff not to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking information about his time in office.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler subpoenaed Don McGahn on April 22 for records and testimony, calling him a "critical witness" to allegations of obstruction of justice involving the president.

In the lengthy report detailing the conclusions of his two-year probe, Special Counsel Robert Mueller pointed to 10 incidents involving Trump that raised questions of obstruction, including the president's attempt to remove the special counsel from his post and attempts to curtail his investigation.

They included Trump's June 2017 directive to McGahn to speak with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to say Mueller must be expelled because Trump believed he had alleged conflicts of interests.

But in a widely reported letter, McGahn's lawyer, William Burck, told Nadler his client has been advised by Acting Chief of Staff Mick Muvlaney not to comply with the subpoena.

Mulvaney issued the directive because the documents McGahn was ordered not to turn over the requested documents "because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege," current White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter that Burck included in his missive to the judiciary committee chairman.

Cipollone argued McGahn does not have the legal right to turn them over to the committee.

"Where co-equal branches of government are making contradictory demands on Mr. McGahn concerning the same set of documents, the appropriate response for Mr. McGahn is to maintain the status quo unless and until the Committee and the Executive Branch can reach an accommodation," Burck wrote to Nadler.

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