The White House is blocking a 'critical witness' from testifying to Congress in the investigation of Trump's crimes.
The Trump White House's blatant attempts to obstruct congressional subpoenas continues.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC News on Tuesday that the administration will instruct former White House counsel Don McGahn to ignore a congressional subpoena that legally compels him to testify to the House Judiciary Committee.
"I don’t anticipate that that takes place," Sanders said on an ABC News podcast. "We consider this to be a case closed and we're moving forward to do the work of the American people."
McGahn's lawyer confirmed in a letter that the White House instructed him not to comply with the congressional subpoena, saying the White House cited, "Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege."
It's unclear whether that will hold up to legal scrutiny, given that the White House already waived executive privilege when it allowed McGahn to testify with Mueller's investigators.
But McGahn's lawyer said that McGahn "continues to owe certain duties and obligations to the president," and thus will abide by the White House's orders to obstruct "until the [House Judiciary Committee] and the Executive Branch can reach an accommodation."
It's yet another move in the Trump administration's quest to help shield Trump from additional scrutiny after special counsel Robert Mueller released his bombshell report showing how Trump obstructed justice on multiple occasions.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said in a news release last month that McGahn is a "critical witness" in Trump's attempts to obstruct justice, and that McGahn's testimony was crucial to the Judiciary Committee's investigation of that obstruction.
"His testimony will help shed further light on the President's attacks on the rule of law, and his attempts to cover up those actions by lying to the American people and requesting others do the same," Nadler wrote.
It's unclear whether the White House even has the authority to stop McGahn's testimony.
However, if McGahn does follow White House orders to defy a congressional subpoena, Congress can move to hold McGahn in contempt.
Congress is already moving forward with contempt proceedings for Attorney General William Barr, who is defying a congressional subpoena to turn over Mueller's full report.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi went a step further in a speech at Cornell University on Tuesday, saying Trump could face impeachment proceedings if he keeps obstructing congressional investigations.
.@SpeakerPelosi says ignoring congressional subpoenas could be impeachable and accuses President Trump of obstructing justice "every day" while "trying to goad us into impeachment."
"I say to my colleagues—whatever it is, be ready."
Very interesting remarks at Cornell. pic.twitter.com/tnyP2nDAGe
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) May 7, 2019
"He's just trying to goad us into impeachment," Pelosi said of Trump. "And wherever you go, I say to my colleagues — whatever it is be ready. And whatever it is, we'll be ready."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.