Former White House Counsel Don McGahn will testify before the House Judiciary Committee behind closed doors “as soon as possible” about the goings-on in the Trump administration, according to a court filing on Wednesday.
The agreement reached for his congressional testimony puts an end to a two-year standoff over claims of executive privilege that kept White House officials from testifying during the Democrats’ first impeachment probe in 2019.
Since President Biden took office, the Justice Department negotiated with congressional Democrats to obtain an agreement for Mr. McGahn’s testimony.
Although the first impeachment focused on former President Trump’s communications with the president of Ukraine, Democrats sought to have Mr. McGahn testify though he had left the White House at the time of the impeachment hearings.
Mr. McGahn worked as an attorney for the Trump campaign and then served as White House counsel until 2018.
The public and the press are not able to attend Mr. McGahn’s testimony, but a transcript will later be released, according to the court filing.
Mr. McGahn will testify about Mr. Trump’s alleged attempts to obstruct the investigation into his campaign and connections to Russia as it pertained to the Mueller report, and is anticipated to be quizzed on Mr. Trump’s alleged plan to fire then-special counsel Robert Mueller.
The Mueller report said Mr. McGahn was directed by the former president to tell Justice Department officials to remove Mr. Mueller as special counsel over potential conflicts of interest but declined to do so worrying about the potential of a Watergate scandal.
Media reports said Mr. McGahn threatened to resign over the president’s request.
Mr. Trump had alleged that Mr. Mueller had a conflict of interest and shouldn’t be investigating him and his campaign.
The former president claimed the two men had a “nasty” business relationship stemming from a disagreement at one of Mr. Trump’s golf clubs and that he had turned Mr. Mueller down for leading the FBI, instead of having former FBI Director James B. Comey head the department at the beginning of the Trump administration.
Jason Miller, a spokesperson for the former president, told Politico earlier this week that Mr. Trump may continue to fight the testimony.
“This case presents important questions concerning confidentiality of communications between the President and his closest advisors and the ability of a House committee to pry into those communications,” Mr. Miller said.
“President Trump has not agreed to the accommodation arranged in principle by the Biden Administration with the House Judiciary Committee and is evaluating his options for fully protecting the privilege that continues to cover his communications with his closest advisors,” he added.
The court had delayed oral arguments twice in the case but had scheduled a hearing for next week.
Wednesday’s filing tells the court the hearing is not necessary and should be removed from the schedule now that an agreement was reached.