U.S. judge backs Democrats' request for Trump financial records

Clay Curtis
May 21, 2019

The White House has directed one of its former legal advisers not to testify to a congressional committee about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

According to the DOJ memo (pdf), authored by the Office of Legal Counsel, "Congress may not constitutionally compel the President's senior advisers to testify about their official duties. The Democrats do not like the conclusion of the Mueller investigation - no collusion, no conspiracy, and no obstruction - and want a wasteful and unnecessary do-over", the statement said.

Mr McGahn was interviewed for 30 hours by Mr Mueller's team of investigators, and was frequently cited in their 448-page report, released in April.

Meanwhile, Cipollone wrote to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., to affirm that McGahn would not appear at any hearing on Tuesday as Democrats had hoped.

In addition to giving the green light to the House's legislative onslaught on Trump, Mehta has refused to grant a stay on his ruling as requested by Trump's lawyers.

The directive from the White House is another blow to House Democrats, who have been seeking testimony from various Trump officials in an effort to bolster calls for impeachment.

McGahn is a central figure in the Mueller report, often standing in the way of Trump's efforts to obstruct justice.

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Lawmakers have been eager to hear from McGahn, who was a key figure in Mueller's Russian Federation investigation. McGahn was directly implicated in several major episodes that Mueller implied were obstructive in nature - including Trump's orders that McGahn see to it that Mueller was sacked, and demands by Trump that McGahn falsely deny that the President ordered Mueller be fired.

McGahn featured prominently in Mueller's final report, released last month.

The McGahn news was not surprising.

The House Judiciary Committee voted earlier this month to hold Barr in contempt after he defied a subpoena for an unredacted version of Mueller's report.

Cummings said concerns were raised when Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, testified before the Judiciary Committee alleging that the president had altered the estimated value of his assets and liabilities in his financial statement. "Even more ridiculous is the extension of the privilege to cover events before and after Mr. McGahn's service in the White House".

"The White House provided these records to Mr. McGahn in connection with its cooperation with the special counsel's investigation and with the clear understanding that the records remain subject to the control of the White House for all purposes", Cipollone wrote earlier this month.

Nadler, instead, should direct his requests for any records to the White House, the letter said.

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