Court Battles

Appeals court will again rehear House lawsuit over McGahn subpoena

Greg Nash

A full federal appeals court will rehear a case brought by House Democrats against former White House counsel Don McGahn for defying their subpoena after a divided panel of three judges ruled that the chamber did not have legal grounds to bring the lawsuit.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday vacated the panel’s August decision and set a new oral argument in the case for February of next year.

Both sides will again be making their cases before the full circuit court, which overturned an earlier decision from the three-judge panel this year that threw out the House’s lawsuit on the grounds that it lacked legal standing.

In the brief order issued on Thursday, the full D.C. Circuit said that the parties should be prepared to argue over the merits of the case, including President Trump’s theory that he and his close advisers have absolute immunity from congressional subpoenas, in addition to the narrow legal issue at the center of the panel’s August decision

The House has been seeking McGahn’s testimony for over a year as part of an inquiry into whether Trump obstructed the special counsel’s investigation into the 2016 election.

The White House last year directed its former attorney not to comply with the subpoena and the House responded with a lawsuit in the D.C. federal district court.

A district court judge sided with the House last November, rejecting the Trump administration’s immunity argument.

The case has been stalled in the appeals court since then, moving back and forth between the panel and the full circuit, ensuring that it won’t be resolved before the election.

The D.C. Circuit on Thursday also raised the question of whether the case would become moot when the subpoena expires at the end of the current congressional term in January.

Tags congressional subpoena Don McGahn Donald Trump white house immunity
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