Trump says he would ‘love to’ have officials testify but is ‘fighting for future presidents’

President Trump on Tuesday claimed he was blocking current and former administration officials from testifying in the impeachment inquiry to protect future presidents. The statement came one day after a federal judge ruled former White House counsel Don McGahn must appear before a House panel.

Trump argued in a trio of tweets that he “would love to have” McGahn, former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney testify. The White House has thus far blocked officials from complying with Democratic requests for testimony in the House impeachment inquiry.{mosads}

“The D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much into people being forced by Courts to testify before Congress,” he tweeted. “I am fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President. Other than that, I would actually like people to testify.”

He praised Bolton as a “patriot” and downplayed what he may know about the Ukraine scandal that has engulfed the Trump administration. Bolton left the White House in September, and after his departure Trump complained he did not get along with others.

“Likewise, I would love to have Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Mick Mulvaney and many others testify about the phony Impeachment Hoax,” Trump tweeted. “It is a Democrat Scam that is going nowhere but, future Presidents should in no way be compromised. What has happened to me should never happen to another President!”

Pompeo was asked about the president’s tweet and whether he would consider testifying minutes later during a State Department press briefing.

“When the time is right, all good things happen,” Pompeo said cryptically. Earlier during the briefing, Pompeo also declined to answer a question about his contacts with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, saying he didn’t “have much to say” related to the Ukraine issue at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.  

“I don’t have much to say with respect to the Ukraine investigation,” Pompeo said. “We continue to comply with all the legal requirements.”

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, an Obama appointee, ruled Monday that, despite White House arguments, McGahn was not immune from compelled congressional testimony and must testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

The Trump administration has appealed the decision, but Trump’s insistence that he would “love” to let some of his top aides testify may hamper his legal argument that they should have immunity.

Jackson wrote in the opinion that the president’s claim that top advisers are immune from compelled congressional testimony “has no basis in the law,” and he continued that it made no difference whether the individuals are “privy to national security matters.”

“Presidents are not kings,” Jackson wrote in a 120-page opinion.

McGahn’s attorney said he would comply with the judge’s ruling unless it is a stayed pending appeal.

The Trump administration has stonewalled requests from House Democrats for testimony and documents as part of its impeachment inquiry into whether the president abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate domestic political rivals.

The House Judiciary Committee had sought McGahn’s appearance back in May in connection with an investigation stemming from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, but it would welcome his testimony as part of the impeachment proceedings.

House Democrats have said, however, they won’t wait for a court to resolve fights over subpoenas for testimony. 

The House Intelligence Committee is expected to submit a report to the Judiciary panel in the coming weeks summarizing its findings from private and public hearings. The House is likely to vote on articles of impeachment drafted by the Judiciary Committee sometime before the end of the year. 

Morgan Chalfant contributed

Tags Don McGahn Donald Trump impeachment hearings John Bolton Mick Mulvaney Mike Pompeo Rick Perry Robert Mueller Rudy Giuliani
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