Trump administration to appeal ruling over former WH counsel McGahn testimony

The Justice Department on Tuesday said it would appeal a ruling by a federal district judge ordering former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) also asked the judge to pause the ruling while the appeal plays out. In the interim, House Democrats, who issued the subpoena for McGahn’s testimony, have agreed to a weeklong suspension, or stay, of the ruling that was issued Monday night.

DOJ lawyers argued that a stay pending appeal should be granted because there is a “significant chance” that a federal appeals court will find McGahn is “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony.”

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That argument gained no traction with U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, an Obama appointee, who rejected the White House’s assertion of absolute immunity in her ruling Monday night.

“As a matter of law, such aides do not have absolute testimonial immunity,” Jackson wrote.

Shortly after the ruling, the Trump administration said it planned to appeal.

White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamWhite House spokesperson: Pelosi, Democrats 'hate Trump's success' Fewer Americans following impeachment inquiry, poll shows Appeals court hands Trump partial win over 'public charge' rule for immigrants MORE said in a statement the decision “contradicts longstanding legal precedent established by Administrations of both political parties.”

“We will appeal and are confident that the important constitutional principle advanced by the Administration will be vindicated,” she added.

McGahn’s case is being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Updated at 9:41 a.m.