Former White House counsel Don McGahn has said that he will obey Trump’s orders to skip a House Judiciary meeting on Tuesday, to avoid testifying about his work for Trump, reports the Associated Press.
This action is the latest in Trump’s efforts to impede all congressional investigations into his presidency.
The House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena for McGahn to testify at the meeting on Tuesday. Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler warns that McGahn may be held in contempt of Congress or hit with fines if he does not testify.
William Burck, McGahn’s lawyer, wrote in a letter to Nadler saying, “[McGahn] is conscious of the duties he, as an attorney, owes to his former client.”
Burck urged the committee to compromise with the White House, claiming that McGahn “finds himself facing contradictory instructions from two co-equal branches of government.”
Trump claims that his actions are not solely for his benefit, but for all future presidents.
“I think it’s a very important precedent. And the attorneys say that they’re not doing that for me, they’re doing that for the office of the president. So we’re talking about the future.”
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Washington has ruled against Trump, saying that the president may not block a House subpoena for information.
If McGahn does testify, he would be endangering his personal career in Republican politics, and put his law firm, Jones Day, at risk of contempt under Trump.
According to a White House official, Trump has flirted with the idea of ordering Republicans to stop conducting business with Jones Day, which is a prominent firm in Washington and extensively associated with the GOP.
The Department of Justice has previously stated that immediate presidential advisers have “absolute immunity” from testifying in front of Congress.
In a legal opinion provided to McGahn, the Justice Department stated, “[t]he immunity of the President’s immediate advisers from compelled congressional testimony on matters related to their official responsibilities has long been recognized and arises from the fundamental workings of the separation of powers. Accordingly, Mr. McGahn is not legally required to appear and testify about matters related to his official duties as Counsel to the President."