House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to enforce a subpoena for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn.
The lawsuit comes two weeks after former special counsel Robert Mueller, who interviewed McGahn extensively, testified on Capitol Hill about his 22-month Russia investigation.
Lawyers for Judiciary Committee described McGahn as both “critical” and the “most important fact witness” during a call with reporters on Wednesday before the lawsuit was filed, noting he witnessed key obstruction moments examined by Mueller.
One Judiciary counsel compared McGahn to John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel whose testimony before Congress was crucial during Watergate.
“It is fair to say that Mr. McGahn is cited more than any other witness” in the Mueller report, another Judiciary counsel said, suggesting the president is stonewalling his testimony because Trump worries it could be damaging.
Nadler indicated shortly after Mueller’s testimony that the McGahn lawsuit was imminent.
Nadler subpoenaed McGahn as part of his panel’s investigation into possible obstruction by Trump.
The White House fired back at Nadler, accusing him of attempting a politically motivated “re-do” of Mueller’s probe.
“The Judiciary Committee is now determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the President based on the obstructive conduct described by the Special Counsel,” the lawsuit reads. “But it cannot fulfill this most solemn constitutional responsibility without hearing testimony from a crucial witness to these events: former White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II.”
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