Can you smell the panic? Because I certainly can.
Courtesy of WaPo:
The White House on Tuesday invoked executive privilege to bar former White House counsel Donald McGahn from complying with a congressional subpoena to provide documents to Congress related to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.
In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone said McGahn does not have the legal right to comply with its subpoena for 36 types of documents — most relating to Mueller’s nearly two-year probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Rather, Cipollone argued the committee needed to send the request to the White House — and even hinted they would assert privilege to block the information.
“The White House provided these records to Mr. McGahn in connection with its cooperation with the special counsel’s investigation and with the clear understanding that the records remain subject to the control of the White House for all purposes,” he wrote. “The White House records remain legally protected from disclosure under long-standing constitutional principles, because they implicate significant executive branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege.”
The move will probably infuriate House Democrats, who were hoping to make McGahn their star witness as they seek to unpack the findings of the Mueller report — particularly regarding questions of whether Trump obstructed justice. Trump and his administration have thwarted multiple House probes into the report, the president’s businesses and efforts to obtain his tax returns, frustrating Democrats who said they are trying to conduct oversight.
McGahn’s attorney said that his client would not hand over the documents until Congress reaches some sort of agreement with the executive branch.
Which essentially means “never.”
Trump also lives in fear of congressional testimony by Robert Mueller according to the AP:
The president stewed for days about the prospect of the media coverage that would be given to Mueller, a man Trump believes has been unfairly lionized across cable news and the front pages of the nation’s leading newspapers for two years, according to three White House officials and Republicans close to the White House.
Trump feared a repeat — but bigger — of the February testimony of his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, which dominated news coverage and even overshadowed a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam.
Trump has long known the power of televised images and feared that Americans would be captivated by seeing — and hearing — Mueller, who has not spoken publicly since being named special counsel.
Trump is currently counting on Bill Barr to keep Mueller contained because he still works for the Justice Department, but that might not last much longer.
Courtesy of The Week:
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, told The Hill on Monday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will leave the Justice Department “within the coming days.” Carr did not elaborate, and he used the same phrase a month ago. President Trump is pulling out all the stops to prevent Mueller from testifying before Congress. House Democrats have tentatively scheduled Mueller to testify on May 15, despite Trump’s efforts. Once Mueller leaves the Justice Department, though, Trump will have even less control over whether he testifies.
I get the feeling that Mueller really wants to testify and will not be denied much longer.
And once he is sworn in the House Democrats may not even care about getting those documents from Don McGahn anymore.