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House Judiciary Democrats threaten to hold former Trump lawyer Don McGahn in contempt

Dems threaten to hold Don McGahn in contempt

House Judicary chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler threatened Tuesday to hold former White House lawyer Don McGahn in contempt if he didn't respond to a a congressional subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller's documents. The White House has ordered McGahn not to comply with the subpoena, according to a letter obtained by CBS News. 

Nadler, a New York Democrat, said Tuesday the White House did not invoke executive privilege. "I fully expect that the Committee will hold Mr. McGahn in contempt if he fails to appear before the Committee, unless the White House secures a court order directing otherwise," Nadler said in a statement.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to Nadler, a Democrat, saying that McGahn does not have the legal right to disclose the documents to the committee. Cipollone asked that they direct the request for records to the White House.

The White House argues that it had provided documents to McGahn that were requested by the special counsel during the investigation, but "with the clear understanding that the records remain subject to the control of the White House for all purposes," Cipollone wrote.

"The White House records remain legally protected from exposure under longstanding constitutional principles, because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege," Cipollone wrote.

Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, a Republican who has often clashed with Nadler, said in a statement that "when Democrats subpoenaed Don McGahn, they subpoenaed the wrong person." The committee subpoenaed McGahn in April.

"The White House is nevertheless seeking to accommodate Democrats' unwieldy demands. I hope Chairman Nadler accepts this reasonable offer rather than continuing to reject good faith offers to negotiate," Collins said.

The Trump administration has resisted making officials available to Democratic-controlled House committees in recent weeks. Separately, Nadler has scheduled a vote on Wednesday for the committee to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over the full report by the special counsel.