White House staff could be made to testify before Congress, according to a US Federal Judge who rejected the Trump administration’s claims of immunity.
Former White House Counsel Don McGahn will be compelled to testify to an inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to the ruling.
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In her ruling, US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said: “No one is above the law.
“Executive branch officials are not absolutely immune from compulsory congressional process – no matter how many times the executive branch has asserted as much over the years – even if the president expressly directs such officials’ noncompliance.”
Judge Jackson added that the president does not have the power to stop his aides responding to subpoenas from congress.
But the administration will appeal the ruling, with White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham saying: “This decision contradicts longstanding legal precedent established by administrations of both political parties.
“We will appeal and are confident that the important constitutional principle advanced by the administration will be vindicated.”
The Justice Department will seek to put the ruling on hold in the meantime, department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.
William Burck, an attorney for Mr McGahn, said the former White House counsel will comply with the subpoena, absent a court-imposed stay.
Republican Jerrold Nadler, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said he hoped Mr McGahn would “promptly appear before the committee.”