Thu. Sep 23rd, 2021

House Democrats can’t subpoena former White House counsel, appeals court rules

2 min read

(CNN)A federal appeals court has ruled against the House Judiciary Committee in its attempt to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify about President Donald Trump.

The decision on Monday to shut down the subpoena case means the Democrat-led House of Representatives is unlikely to hear from McGahn or gain the ability to force top executive branch officials to testify about the President, especially before the election or before the current Congress ends in early 2021.The appeals court said Monday that the House’s lawsuit against McGahn must be dismissed.

    The court reasoned that if it wanted to enforce subpoenas like this in court, Congress should pass a law allowing the House to do so. In the 2-1 decision, the appeals court says there’s no reason or law that allows the House to sue over McGahn’s refusal to testify.Read More”We note that this decision does not preclude Congress (or one of its chambers) from ever enforcing a subpoena in federal court; it simply precludes it from doing so without first enacting a statute authorizing such a suit,” Judge Thomas Griffith wrote in the opinion Monday.

      Previously, the same split panel of three judges said the House didn’t have the ability to take the executive branch to court over a subpoena. But then the full appeals court disagreed, sending the case back to the same three judges. The decision on Monday could lead to further appeals from the House over McGahn and Congress’ power.


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