- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2019

An agreement to make former White House counsel Don McGahn available for an interview with House Democrats is “unlikely,” the Justice Department said in a court filing Thursday just hours ahead of a hearing to decide the matter.

Justice Department lawyers said earlier this week negotiations to secure Mr. McGahn’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee were active throughout October. Both sides had met five times since October 8 in hopes of reaching a deal, but talks remained at an impasse.

Now the DOJ says an agreement probably won’t happen.

“Negotiations have now reached a stage at which it is clear that fundamental disagreements remain between the parties and that, under the present circumstances, it appears unlikely the parties will reach a mutually acceptable accommodation,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Joseph H. Hunt.

Both sides have remained in a standoff as the House Judiciary Committee continues the battle for Mr. McGahn’s testimony. A key figure in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Mr. McGahn was subpoenaed in April for deposition.

Democrats say Mr. McGahn’s testimony is critical to decide whether the House should file articles of impeachment against President Trump.

The Justice Department has insisted that the Judiciary Committee’s effort to hear from Mr. McGahn is different from the House impeachment inquiry.

A federal judge could decide the issue later Thursday. Democrats are set to challenge the Justice Department’s contention that senior White House officials have “absolute immunity” from testifying before Congress.

The Justice Department has insisted the absence of absolute immunity could weaken the power of a president to effectively perform their duties.

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