Court refuses to help House Democrats enforce Don McGahn subpeona

President Donald Trump is celebrating another big win in the courts.

This week, a federal appeals court dismissed an attempt by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives to get the judiciary to enforce its subpoena of former White House lawyer Don McGahn. 

Decision rendered

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its 2-1 decision. The judges held that McGahn is not required to comply with the House subpoena.

“Article III of the Constitution forbids federal courts from resolving this kind of interbranch information dispute,” the judges explained. “We agree and dismiss this case.”

With such reasoning, the judges overturned the ruling of the lower court, in which it was found that McGahn had to comply.


This particular case dates back to April 2019. At that time, the House Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), was trying to carry out its own investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. It was an attempt to do what special counsel Robert Mueller couldn’t, that is, find something that might lead to President Trump’s impeachment.

Accordingly, the Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn.

“Mr. McGahn is a critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Mueller report,” Nadler said. “His 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.”

The White House, however, blocked the move by explaining that the documents McGahn was asked to produce “implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interest and executive privilege.”

Thereafter, the House took the matter to the courts, attempting to get the judicial branch to do its dirty work. But the move failed.

What now?

That being said, however, the legal proceeding still does have some life to it. The House, should it choose to do so, can now appeal Friday’s decision, and the matter could even make it to the Supreme Court.

But, for now, there is cause for the Trump administration to celebrate, as the court on Friday got it right.

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