House Judiciary Committee subpoenas former White House counsel Don McGahn in obstruction probe into Trump

  • The House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before the panel about President Donald Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation.
  • The subpoena comes after the special counsel Robert Mueller extensively documented Trump’s attempts at exerting control over the probe in a final report that was released last week.
  • McGahn was featured prominently in the report, and House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler called him a “critical witness” in the obstruction inquiry.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler on Monday subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before the panel in its investigation of possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

In a statement, Nadler said the committee had asked for documents from McGahn by May 7 and for him to testify on May 21.

“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.

An attorney for McGahn was not immediately available for comment.

McGahn was a central figure in Mueller’s obstruction-of-justice case against Trump, and he voluntarily sat down for over 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel’s office last year.

Trump’s legal team, moreover, is said to have been particularly worried about what McGahn might have told Mueller about his conversations with the president. Indeed, he was mentioned in multiple portions of the Mueller report, which laid out potentially incriminating evidence of obstruction by Trump.

In one instance outlined in the report, McGahn told prosecutors that Trump called him twice and ordered him to tell Rod Rosenstein, then the acting attorney general, that Mueller had conflicts of interest and needed to be removed.

McGahn said he agreed to do so to get off the phone but planned to resign rather than carry out Trump’s directive.

He then told Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon – who at the time were respectively the White House’s chief of staff and chief strategist – of his plans to quit. Priebus told prosecutors McGahn didn’t provide any more information, other than saying Trump had asked him to “do crazy s—.”

Later, Trump asked McGahn about notes he had taken of their meetings, according to Mueller’s report.

“Lawyers don’t take notes,” McGahn recalled Trump saying. “I never had a lawyer who took notes.”

McGahn replied that he took notes because he was a “real lawyer” and that notes created a written record and were not a bad thing.

Trump then said he’d “had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn,” according to McGahn. “He did not take notes.”

In another instance, Mueller’s report said that after The New York Times revealed Trump’s efforts to have Mueller removed as special counsel, Trump ordered McGahn to publicly deny the reporting.

But “McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the President’s direction” to remove Mueller, “despite the President’s multiple demands that he do so.”