House Judiciary chairman subpoenas former White House lawyer McGahn

The head of the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Monday seeking the public testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn to probe possible obstruction of justice by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE, following the release of special counsel’s Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s report.

Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality House Democrats call on DOJ to investigate recent killings of unarmed black people  Gun control group rolls out House endorsements MORE (D-N.Y.) described McGahn as a critical witness who may be able to shed light on cases in which he says Trump may have sought to obstruct Mueller’s investigation, a matter that is being examined as part of his panel’s sprawling probe into possible obstruction of justice, public corruption and abuses of power by the president and his inner circle.

McGahn’s testimony was featured extensively in Mueller’s report, which stated that Trump told him to remove Mueller in June 2017, according to the former White House counsel. McGahn refused to do so, fearing it would have been viewed “as triggering another Saturday Night Massacre,” the 448-page report says.

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"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 in a statement Monday evening.

"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," Nadler continued.

Nadler set two deadlines for McGahn, stating that he must provide the panel with documents the panel requested by May 7 and must testify publicly on May 21. William Burck, McGahn's attorney, did not immediately return a request for comment.

McGahn cooperated extensively with Mueller’s investigation, reportedly sitting for roughly 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel’s team last year.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump social media order starts off on shaky legal ground The Department of Justice should step aside in the George Floyd case Valerie Jarrett to DOJ on George Floyd: 'We expect action, we expect justice' MORE on Thursday released the redacted version of Mueller’s report, which detailed 10 episodes of possible obstruction of justice by Trump but ultimately did not draw a conclusion on whether he obstructed justice.

"The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," the report states.

Trump has appeared irritated with some stories about the report that have focused on aides not listening to him or not following his orders. He also took issue with notes people have taken about him in one tweet that appeared to allude to McGahn.

Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani attacked McGahn’s credibility in various interviews over the weekend.

News of the subpoena came just as House Democrats were hosting a conference call to discuss the next steps following the release of Mueller’s report. Some in the caucus have pushed for impeaching Trump following the release of Mueller’s report; however, House leaders have pointedly downplayed that possibility.

Democrats have taken issue with Barr’s handling of Mueller’s report, accusing him of bias and suggesting he is withholding materials from members of Congress by allowing a limited group of lawmakers to view a less redacted version of the report. Barr ruled that the evidence collected by the special counsel was insufficient to accuse Trump of an obstruction of justice offense.

On Friday, Nadler also subpoenaed the Justice Department for Mueller’s full report as well as the underlying evidence.

The Judiciary Committee voted along party lines in early April to authorize Nadler to subpoena Mueller’s full report. The resolution also authorized him to subpoena McGahn and other former White House officials, such as Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusMeadows joins White House facing reelection challenges Trump names Mark Meadows as new chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's job security looks strong following impeachment MORE, the former chief of staff, and Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksCuomo turned down Trump invitation to participate in April press briefing: report Trump shakes up White House communications team Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE, the former White House communications director.

Nadler signaled over the weekend that he wanted to hear from McGahn as part of the committee’s investigation.

“We have to hear from Barr. We have to hear from Mueller. We have to hear from other people like Don McGahn, whom we are going to call. We have to get the entire report, including the redacted materials, so we can evaluate it and so the American people can know what was going on and can make judgments,” Nadler said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsGOP women's group rolls out endorsements ahead of contested races Bossie, Lewandowski warned Trump he was in trouble in 2020: report The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP beset by convention drama MORE (Ga.), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, quickly blasted the move as a “premature” while pointing to the lengthy interviews McGahn gave to the special counsel.  

"For the second time in four days, the chairman has issued a subpoena prematurely and contrary to his pledge not 'to issue a subpoena every time we have a disagreement with the administration,'" Collins said in a statement.

Collins also made a dig at top congressional Democrats for refusing to review a less redacted version of the Mueller report, which the Georgia lawmaker did on Monday at Justice Department headquarters.

“Instead of looking at material that Attorney General Barr has already made available, Democrats prefer to demand additional materials they know are subject to constitutional and common-law privileges and cannot be produced,” Collins said.

Nadler and other top Democrats such as Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFederal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in VA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment MORE (N.Y.) said Barr’s offer was too rigid. It gave only 12 lawmakers access to this version, and lawmakers would not be able to review the full report, including grand jury materials, or discuss it publicly. Grand jury material is subject to federal secrecy rules, barring a court order for some exceptions. Barr has said he would not petition a judge to release the material.

While they said they are willing to work with the attorney general to reach an agreement, the two sides appear to be at an impasse that could be heading into a prolonged court battle over such sensitive material.

Updated at 5:58 p.m.