With the window on possible impeachment closing, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler asked a federal court Monday to speed up a decision on whether to force former top White House lawyer Don McGahn to have to testify.
Though the House has not voted to begin any kind of impeachment inquiry, Mr. Nadler is using the specter of impeachment to prod the courts to give him access to witnesses and documents he says will prove the president’s lawlessness.
Mr. McGahn is “the most crucial” of those, Mr. Nadler said.
The one-time White House counsel was at the center of President Trump’s efforts to derail special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling and Trump campaign activities. Mr. McGahn says Mr. Trump ordered him to fire Mr. Mueller, though he did not follow through.
“As the committee moves forward with its efforts to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the President, we will do everything in our power to hear from those who directly witnessed President Trump’s crimes outlined in special counsel Mueller’s report,” Mr. Nadler said.
The White House has asserted “immunity” over Mr. McGahn’s testimony about his time in the White House, saying that as a close advisor to the president, Mr. McGahn cannot be compelled by the Congress to testify.
Mr. McGahn says he will respect that, defying a subpoena from Mr. Nadler.
Mr. Nadler calls the immunity defense an “invented doctrine.”
Monday’s legal request is for a preliminary injunction ordering Mr. McGahn to comply.
Earlier Monday Mr. Nadler announced he’d issued a subpoena demanding testimony of Rob Porter, the one-time White House staff secretary, who according to the special counsel also witnessed Trump efforts to derail the Russia probe.