BREAKING: Federal Judge Says White House Counsel Don McGahn Must Obey Congressional Subpoena

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Posted: Nov 25, 2019 6:22 PM
BREAKING: Federal Judge Says White House Counsel Don McGahn Must Obey Congressional Subpoena

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

United States District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Monday ruled that White House counsel Dan McGahn must obey Congressional subpoenas and testify in front of House impeachment investigators. Other current and former White House officials defied subpoenas stemming from the Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"This Court holds that Executive branch officials are not absolutely immune from compulsory congressional process—no matter how many times the Executive branch has asserted as much over the years—even if the President expressly directs such officials' non-compliance," Jackson wrote, according to NPR.

The ruling could impact other current and former administration officials who have argued that they have "absolutely immunity" because of executive privilege. 

Jackson disagreed with the claim, the Associated Press reported.

"It is clear to this Court for the reasons explained above that, with respect to senior-level presidential aides, absolute immunity from compelled congressional process simply does not exist," Jackson wrote. "That is to say, however busy or essential a presidential aide might be, and whatever their proximity to sensitive domestic and national-security projects, the President does not have the power to excuse him or her” from complying with Congressional subpoenas.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) considered the judge's ruling a win.

“Now that the court has ruled, I expect him to follow his legal obligations and promptly appear before the Committee,” Nadler told NBC News.

The White House is expected to challenge the ruling.

This story has been updated with additional information.