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DOJ seeks to pause judge's order for McGahn testimony

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 26, 2019 - Duration: 02:04s

DOJ seeks to pause judge's order for McGahn testimony

U.S. Justice Department lawyers asked a judge on Tuesday to put on hold a ruling requiring former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify to U.S. lawmakers as part of the Democratic-led impeachment probe against President Donald Trump.

Jonah Green reports.

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DOJ seeks to pause judge's order for McGahn testimony

Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department asked a judge on Tuesday to put on hold a ruling that would require former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration's court filing asked for the delay while it pursues an appeal a day after U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson rejected its legal claim that current and former senior White House officials cannot be compelled to testify before Congress, writing that "no one is above the law” The judge also took a broad swipe at the administration’s portrayal of an unaccountable executive branch, noting that, “presidents are not kings.” The administration has not only blocked officials from testifying to lawmakers but has refused to provide requested documents to Democratic congressional investigators on a wide range of topics, claiming broad immunity.

Trump, writing on Twitter Tuesday, claimed he would "love" to let top officials testify, but said he was fighting for future presidents.

When asked about that, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dodged the suggestion.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO, SAYING: “When the time is right, all good things happen.” McGahn, who left his post in October 2018, had defied a subpoena for testimony in May about special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

The subpoena was issued months before the House opened an impeachment inquiry into the Republican president's actions concerning Ukraine.

The Judiciary Committee sued McGahn in August to try to enforce the subpoena.

If the Justice Department's request for a longer pause is granted, then the dispute over presidential powers will not be decided for months - possibly after Trump’s impeachment and trial in the Senate - and during that time McGahn would not have to testify.

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