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Judiciary Committee subpoenas McGahn, ex-White House counsel who defied Trump

Trump shrugs off impeachment talks

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Monday demanding former White House counsel Don McGahn testify before Congress and hand over documents concerning dozens of subjects detailed in the Mueller report. 

Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York ordered McGahn to hand over documents pertaining to 36 different subjects concerning his time at the White House by May 7. He must also testify before the committee on May 21. 

McGahn was a prominent figure in special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The report, which does not come to a conclusion as to whether President Trump obstructed justice, said McGahn told investigators Mr. Trump twice ordered him to fire Mueller. 

McGahn refused to obey the request, fearing that doing so would set off a situation reminiscent of the "Saturday Night Massacre," in which President Nixon fired top Justice Department officials in an attempt to derail the Watergate investigation in 1973. He told colleagues he was prepared to resign rather than follow through on the request.

After The New York Times reported in early 2018 that Mr. Trump had told McGahn to fire Mueller, the president asked his then-counsel to release a statement disputing the report, according to Mueller. McGahn again refused, saying he "shrugged off" the order despite Mr. Trump threatening to fire him.  

At one point, the report states, McGahn decided he would tender his resignation to the president, only to be talked out of it by Reince Priebus, then the White House chief of staff, and Steve Bannon, Mr. Trump's top strategist. Priebus also told investigators McGahn had complained that Mr. Trump had asked him to do "crazy s**t."

In a statement, Nadler said McGahn's "testimony will help shed further light on the President's attacks on the rule of law, and his attempts to cover up those actions by lying to the American people and requesting others do the same." 

But Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, blasted Nadler's decision to subpoena McGahn. 

"Don McGahn sat for more than 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel's investigation, and the chairman has answered that with a stunning 36-item subpoena," Collins said in a statement. "Instead of looking at material that Attorney General Barr has already made available, Democrats prefer to demand additional materials they know are subject to constitutional and common-law privileges and cannot be produced."

Documents subpoenaed by the committee include McGahn's communications involving the firing of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Attorney Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia matter and the "resignation or termination, whether contemplated or actual, of Special Counsel Robert Mueller."

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