The requisite empty chair for McGahn pic.twitter.com/tlKKK7M6bC
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) May 21, 2019
Courtesy of NYT:
Mr. Trump separately moved to block Congress from receiving testimony by the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II at a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, denying House Democrats one of the most important eyewitnesses to Mr. Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation. Mr. McGahn will not appear, his lawyer said later.
The fights raise separate but overlapping issues: how far Congress’s power to subpoena information extends, what Mr. Trump can apply executive privilege to in order to keep secret, and whether a president’s senior aides are “absolutely immune” from subpoenas, meaning they do not even have to show up when ordered to appear before lawmakers.
Asked why he was telling Mr. McGahn to defy the subpoena, Mr. Trump suggested that his lawyers were just trying to protect the institution of the presidency.
“They’re doing that for the office of the presidency, for future presidents,” he told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. “I think it’s a very important precedent. And the attorneys say that they’re not doing that for me. They’re doing it for the office of the president. So we’re talking about the future.”
Well, that is obviously bullshit.
The very idea that Trump gives two shits about future presidents is laugh out loud funny.
Here is how House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler opened the hearing today courtesy of The Guardian:
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler has opened the hearing where former White House counsel Don McGahn is refusing to appear.
“The president took it upon himself to intimidate a witness who has a legal obligation to be here today. This conduct is not remotely acceptable,” he said.
When the committee issues a subpoena, he said, “the witness must show up. Our subpoenas are not optional. Mr. McGahn has a legal obligation to be here.”
If McGahn does not immediately reverse course and agree to testify, he said, “this committee will have no choice but to enforce the subpoena against him.”
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said Donald Trump’s behavior as outlined in the Mueller report “constitutes a crime.”
Nadler made the declaration after listing incidents detailed in the report in which Trump told then-counsel Don McGahn to have special counsel Robert Mueller fired, and then told him to lie about it.
“But for the Department of Justice’s policy of refusing to indict a sitting President, I believe he would have been charged with these crimes,” Nadler said.
Trump has continued a “pattern of obstruction and coverup” by seeking to block congressional inquiries after the release of the report, he said.
“Let me be clear: this Committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” he said in his opening statement. “We will not allow the President to stop this investigation, and nothing in these unjustified and unjustifiable legal attacks will stop us from pressing forward with our work on behalf of the American people. We will hold this President accountable – one way or the other.”
So here we have yet another day of Trump openly obstructing an investigation into his potential criminal behavior.
Which only lends more credence to Michael Cohen’s claim that he was told to lie to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow.