Nadler Blasts Trump Administration: "Our Subpoenas Are Not Optional"


House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler said he would go to court to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify, at a hearing where McGahn refused to appear.

"Let me be clear, this committee will hear Mr. McGahn's testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it," McGahn said. "When this committee issues a subpoena, even to a senior presidential adviser, the witness must show up. Our subpoenas are not optional."

"In short, the president took it upon himself to intimidate a witness who has a legal obligation to be here today," Nadler said. "This conduct is not remotely acceptable."

REP. JERRY NADLER: The White House asserts that Mr. McGahn does not have to appear today because he is entitled to, quote, "absolute immunity," unquote from our subpoenas. We know this argument is wrong, of course, because the executive branch has tried this approach before. In 2007, President George Bush attempted to invoke a similarly broad and unjustified assertion of executive privilege and asked his former counsel Harriet Myers to ignore a subpoena issued by this committee.

Ms. Myers also did not appear at her scheduled hearing. Judge John Bates, who was appointed by President Bush, slapped down that argument fairly quickly. Quote, "the executive cannot identify a single judicial opinion that recognizes absolute immunity for senior presidential advisors in this or any other context." That simple yet critical fact bears repeating. The asserted absolute immunity claim here is "entirely unsupported by the case law," close quote, from the judicial decision. In other words, when this committee issues a subpoena even to a senior presidential advisor, the witness must show up. Our subpoenas are not optional. Mr. Mcgahn has a legal obligation to be here for this scheduled appearance. If he does not immediately correct his mistake, this committee will have no choice but to enforce the subpoena against him.

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