McGahn Instructed Not To Testify

I have so many questions about this, so I’m hoping some of our legal folks can weigh in.

If he doesn’t testify and they find him in contempt, is he arrested? Will he need a lawyer to defend him, and if so, who will pay for it? I would think legal fees would be the biggest deterrent.

#impeachthemotherfuckeralready

Anyway, discuss.






45 replies
  1. 1

    I thought I saw legal analysis earlier today saying Trump can’t stop him from testifying, that there are previous court decisions. I hate this time line.

    ETA: Maybe this was what I read. This tweet is the start of a thread.

    It's settled law in DC federal court that there's no unqualified immunity for a former White House Counsel. Don McGahn doesn't work for the White House, and in fact Trump has no power to stop him from testifying tomorrow. If he doesn't show up, send the U.S. Marshals out. Period.— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) May 20, 2019

  2. 2
    Lapassionara says:

    Paging John Dean. There’s a message for you on the white courtesy phone.

  3. 3
    Dmbeaster says:

    That is not how executive privilege works. It is just raw defiance of a subpoena, and should be treated as a crime. Of course, then Trump instructs the DOJ not to prosecute the crimes. It all circles back to impeachment. The point should be made endlessly that Trump is covering up criminality. It needs to be heated and political.

  4. 4

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: That’s my assumption – that he legally can’t refuse, but if he does…then what? I would think you’d have to be pretty heavy in Trumpland to actually defy Congress (DTjr and Barr come to mind).

  5. 5
    germy says:

    I know the criminality is endless but we need to keep pointing this out – this kind of “lashing out” at McGhan – perhaps most central witness in obstruction – looks very much like attempted witness intimidation to this former prosecutor. https://t.co/Y0CnIElFui— Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1) May 13, 2019

  6. 6
    rikyrah says:

    #impeachthemotherfuckeralready

    Amen

  7. 7
    david says:

    —–
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    Uh, Cole? Is that beheading pic you posted causing an issue?

  8. 8
    germy says:

    NEW: DOJ has released a new opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel saying former White House counsel Don McGahn is not legally required to testify before Congress (deleted prev. tweet that didn't specify he's a *former* WH counsel) https://t.co/HLERrfhg0a pic.twitter.com/mrrVtlz4zZ— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) May 20, 2019

  9. 9
    oatler. says:

    Nancy, summon the Sergeant at Arms, and tell him not to be gentle.

  10. 10
    NYCMT says:

    Stephen Engel wrote some torture memos.

  11. 11

    It's settled law in DC federal court that there's no unqualified immunity for a former White House Counsel. Don McGahn doesn't work for the White House, and in fact Trump has no power to stop him from testifying tomorrow. If he doesn't show up, send the U.S. Marshals out. Period.— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) May 20, 2019

    ETA: Sorry. That’s not the tweet I meant to add since I already pasted this one above. Here’s what I was after (I hope):

    The interesting part of the WH – McGahn letter is that they don't actually claim privileged, just say he's former senior staff so exempt/immune.The question now is does McGahn go along with this or show up tomorrow?W/@jdawsey1& @DevlinBarretthttps://t.co/LDUXUhWYAQ— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) May 20, 2019

  12. 12
    JoyceH says:

    Here’s something I don’t understand. There seems to be some opinion that McGahn doesn’t want to testify and would like a reason not to. And all I can wonder is WHY? Yes, I get careerism, and I get venality, and wanting to maintain a seat at the Republican table. But what I don’t understand is how anyone can work for this vicious madman and not come away with the burning desire to destroy him and eradicate all his works from the face of the earth. I mean, I hate him with the white hot heat of a thousand burning suns, and he’s never even screamed obscenities in my face or destroyed months of my careful negotiations with one careless tweet. How can the people who actually work with him NOT hate him?

  13. 13
    TenguPhule says:

    @Dmbeaster:

    That is not how executive privilege works.

    IOKIYAR.

    This will not end peacefully.

  14. 14
    TenguPhule says:

    @JoyceH:

    But what I don’t understand is how anyone can work for this vicious madman and not come away with the burning desire to destroy him and eradicate all his works from the face of the earth.

    That’s because you have a soul and moral character.

    The people willing to work for him, all of them, are monsters. Feature, not a bug.

  15. 15
    TenguPhule says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    It’s settled law in DC federal court that there’s no unqualified immunity for a former White House Counsel.

    No law is settled now that 5 Republicans have decided that party over country is the law.

  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:

    @TaMara (HFG):

    that he legally can’t refuse, but if he does…then what?

    Then we find out the DOJ is completely compromised because they will do nothing to enforce Congress’s demands.

    And things will be sent to court, giving Trump and the GOP months of free time to spin the narrative that they are only guilty of being the victims of party politics by the mean old Democrats, because otherwise if the Democrats were really serious about the crisis they keep talking about, they’d have done something more proactive then whining to the courts about it. //s

  17. 17
    NotMax says:

    Turns out The Hollies were retroactively prescient, eh wot?.

    He’s not the one to hold your trust
    Everything around him turns to dust
    In his hand
    Nothing he can do is right
    He’d even like to sleep at night
    But he can’t
    He’s King Midas with a curse
    He’s King Midas in reverse

  18. 18
    Jeffro says:

    Total mob boss mentality, obvious to anyone with half a brain

    I’d suggest to Dems that they just cal him that, but he’d like it too much. Better to refer to his shitty business acumen and also GET THOSE TAX RETURNS

  19. 19
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @david: Probably. The notice appeared shortly after that tweet.

  20. 20
    Mike in NC says:

    The term we’re looking for is “Omerta”, or the Mafia Code of Silence. Because they are all mobsters when you think about it.

  21. 21
    Ruckus says:

    @JoyceH:
    In a sane world, you’d be right.
    Republican world is not a sane world.
    Would the man not like to testify? I’d bet in any world, sane or not the answer would be no. It a world that would end any concept of a career for him going forward of course he doesn’t want to testify. Will he? We will find out what kind of stones he has. If he shows up and tells the truth, the shit for brains he worked for is toast. As will his career be. Maybe he can get a job writing wills and powers of attorney for 50% of his lowest previous salary. If he doesn’t show up, he’s as republican as any of them and isn’t worth the spit Mussolini earned.

  22. 22
    JoyceH says:

    @TenguPhule: That’s because you have a soul and moral character.

    The people willing to work for him, all of them, are monsters.

    Yeah, but I’m not talking about his policies or his programs. I’m talking about how he TREATS the people who work for him. How could anyone work for this boss and not hate him? Even monsters object to being treated that way.

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    In related news

    Judge orders Trump accounting firm to hand over records to Congress

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/20/politics/mazars-trump-records/index.html

  24. 24
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Ruckus:

    Maybe he can get a job writing wills and powers of attorney for 50% of his lowest previous salary.

    That’s essentially a minimum wage job, unless you’re doing trusts or estates for high net worth families.

    @TenguPhule: four in a row—that’s 33% better than usual!

  25. 25
    MattF says:

    The boss says no. What else do you need to know?

    On a lighter note, I wonder what the WH staff are thinking, now, about their futures? Prolly as little as possible.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Baud: When do we get the rage tweets from this mobster manchild that the courts are total losers?

    I want to be able to see 8 taco trucks from my living room window. *sigh*

  28. 28
    Martin says:

    Given that McGahn doesn’t work for the government, I don’t see how it is possible for the WH to block a Congressional subpoena.

  29. 29
    Redshift says:

    @JoyceH:

    Yeah, but I’m not talking about his policies or his programs. I’m talking about how he TREATS the people who work for him. How could anyone work for this boss and not hate him? Even monsters object to being treated that way.

    You can hate him and still be a coward. Testifying would make McGahn an enemy of the wingnut machine, and lots of people would try to make his life miserable and cut him off from having a successful and comfortable (i.e. wealthy to you and me) life. I would guess he might even be pleased if someone more principled and courageous did the right thing, as long as it doesn’t have to be him.

  30. 30
    Waynski says:

    @Baud: Funny. The one thing desperately didn’t want anyone to see was his finances. Follow the money.

  31. 31
    randy khan says:

    I’d just like someone in DoJ to explain why obstruction of justice was within his job description, because otherwise the memo doesn’t seem terribly relevant to the purpose of the testimony.

  32. 32
    Scott (the other one) says:

    I am not a lawyer, but shouldn’t ignoring a lawful subpoena be an act worthy of disbarment for an attorney?

  33. 33
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Scott (the other one): nah. As my legal ethics professor said in our first class: “If you don’t remember anything else from this semester, (1) don’t have sexy with your clients and (2) don’t steal their money.”

    (2) is the most common reason I see for disbarment. Second most common would be abandoning a case you were hired to prosecute.

  34. 34
    Immanentize says:

    I haven’t read all the OLC memo yet (but I will!) But the big huge sleight of hand here is referring to McGahn as “Counsel to the President.”. He is most decidedly NOT that. He WAS “White House Counsel.”.

    The difference is really important. OLC is suggesting that there is some absolute privilege between the President and McGahn, but Courts have always held that is not true because “White House Counsel’s” client is the Executive Branch writ large and over time. His client is one part of Government, not the President(s) he might serve at any given moment in time

    Think of it like Corporate Counsel. They don’t represent the President of Coca Cola, but rather the Corporate entity. If the President does something against the Corporate interest, like sexually assault employees (Steve Wynn), the lawyer for Wynn Resorts Inc. has no attorney/client privilege vis a vis the Pres/CEO.

    But by trying to call McGahn the “Counsel to the President,” OLC is faking an attorney/client relationship.

  35. 35
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: just like melania fakes it, right?

  36. 36
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    There is no attorney involved in her faked client relationship.

  37. 37
    hells littlest angel says:

    DOJ concludes former White House Counsel Don McGahn does not have to testify on Mueller report.

    My dictionary says “conclude” means: to arrive at a judgement by reasoning. I think the verb wanted here is “presumes,” or perhaps “bullshits.”

  38. 38
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: oh, my sources told me that it is a real client relationship, and he was stupid enough to marry the GFE hooker that his Russian puppeteers provided for his physical gratification

  39. 39
    Cacti says:

    @Martin:

    It’s not possible.

    In reality, there’s no law preventing anyone who works or worked for Trump from testifying against his assertions of executive privilege. It would cost them their employment, but there is no section of the U.S. Code that Bob Barr could charge someone with for testifying over Trump’s objections.

  40. 40
    boatboy_srq says:

    Watergate 1.2. It’s all going down like they think they wished it would.

  41. 41
    burnspbesq says:

    @Immanentize:

    What OLC is in effect saying is that there is something like attorney-client privilege between the President and the WHC. Implicit in that would seem to be a crime/fraud exception and a whole bunch of rules about waiver.

  42. 42
    Xavier Onassis says:

    @burnspbesq: Right. The memo refers to immunity from testifying about official responsibilities. But official responsibilities cannot include illegal activities.

  43. 43
    TenguPhule says:

    @Immanentize:

    There is no attorney involved in her faked client relationship.

    Are you sure? That business contract didn’t write itself.

  44. 44
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cacti:

    t, but there is no section of the U.S. Code that Bob Barr could charge someone with for testifying over Trump’s objections.

    Bob Barr: “Hold my beer.”

  45. 45
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Cacti: apologies for being so late to the pedantry, but you mean Bill Barr, not former Georgia congressman/nutjob Bob Barr

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