The House Judiciary Committee is poised to question former White House counsel Don McGahn behind closed doors on Friday, two years after House Democrats originally sought his testimony as part of investigations into former President Donald Trump.
The long-awaited interview is the result of an agreement reached last month in federal court. House Democrats — then investigating whether Trump tried to obstruct the Justice Department’s probes into his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia — originally sued after McGahn defied an April 2019 subpoena on Trump’s orders.
That same month, the Justice Department released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the matter. In the report, Mueller pointedly did not exonerate President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice but also did not recommend prosecuting him, citing Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president. Mueller’s report quoted extensively from interviews with McGahn, who described the president’s efforts to stifle the investigation.
While the Judiciary panel eventually won its fight for McGahn’s testimony, the court agreement almost guarantees they won’t learn anything new. The two sides agreed that McGahn will only be questioned about information attributed to him in publicly available portions of Mueller’s report.
Still, House Democrats kept the case going, even past Trump’s presidency, and are moving forward with the interview to make an example of the former White House counsel. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the agreement for McGahn’s testimony is a good-faith compromise that “satisfies our subpoena, protects the Committee’s constitutional duty to conduct oversight in the future, and safeguards sensitive executive branch prerogatives.”
It is unclear what House Democrats will do with the testimony, which they sought before twice impeaching Trump. The Senate acquitted Trump of impeachment charges both times.