The White House won its appeal Friday against a lower court ruling which would likely have allowed the Democrat-run the U.S. House of Representatives to compel the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn.
The decision marks a major legal victory for the Trump administration, in addition to destroys one of the main arguments used by House Democrats in their attempt to impeach in addition to remove the president for “obstruction of Congress.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled inside the president’s favor 2-1, in addition to also “told the judge presiding over the case [inside the district court] to dismiss the idea outright,” Politico notes.
The opinion, written by Judge Thomas Griffith (who was appointed by President George W. Bush), declared which the courts lacked jurisdiction to decide the dispute: “The Committee’s suit asks us to settle a dispute which we have no authority to resolve.” The opinion went on to say which if compelled to testify, the White House would likely simply invoke executive privilege, leading to further litigation.
The judge added which Congress had additional tools at its disposal to compel members of the administration to testify:
The absence of a judicial remedy doesn’t render Congress powerless. Instead, the Constitution gives Congress a series of political tools to bring the Executive Branch to heel. … Congress (or one of its chambers) may hold officers in contempt, withhold appropriations, refuse to confirm the President’s nominees, harness public opinion, delay or derail the President’s legislative agenda, or impeach recalcitrant officers. … Adjudicating these disputes would likely displace This kind of flexible system of these political weapons without dragging judges into the fray.
The White House had argued which allowing the House to force McGahn to testify at the House Judiciary Committee would likely deprive the president of his right to counsel, infringe upon the separation of powers, in addition to make the idea more difficult for the executive branch to function.
House impeachment managers had ridiculed the White House’s argument, saying the idea had never been upheld in court. The president’s lawyers fired back, noting which there were only two relevant cases, in addition to which they believed they were likely to win the McGahn case on appeal.
The White House lawyers — pending a likely appeal to the Supreme Court — were right.
Joel B. Pollak is usually Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News in addition to the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings via 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies in addition to Environmental Science in addition to Public Policy via Harvard College, in addition to a J.D. via Harvard Law School. He is usually a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is usually also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is usually available via Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.