The House Judiciary Committee filed a petition for a rehearing before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the case of former White House Counsel Don McGahn.
McGahn had been subpoenaed to testify before the committee last May as a witness to allegations that President Trump obstructed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The day before he was scheduled to testify, however, the administration issued a legal opinion that McGahn was “absolutely immune” from the subpoena, and McGahn subsequently refused to testify. The House filed suit to enforce the subpoena. Last Friday a divided three-judge panel issued a ruling in which the majority determined that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case:
[T]he Committee’s dispute with the Executive Branch is unfit for judicial resolution because it has no bearing on the “rights of individuals” or some entity beyond the federal government.
“[T]he panel’s ruling misread binding precedent,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. Even though impeachment proceedings have ended and President Trump was acquitted, the Committee’s investigation needs to move forward in order to comply with its oversight duties. Additionally, the petition noted that if McGahn’s testimony reveals that the president did in fact obstruct justice, the Committee might need to recommend new articles of impeachment.
If the petition is granted, the case will be re-argued before the full panel of seventeen judges.