The House of Representatives and the Biden administration say they have reached an agreement “in principle” on the long-running standoff over a subpoena for former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn to testify about the ex-President’s obstructive acts.
Details of the agreement were not immediately made publicly available, and it’s merely called an “accommodation” in a court document filed on Tuesday. It’s not yet known if McGahn will testify or provide any details to the House Judiciary Committee, as it’s sought since the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, in which McGahn was a key witness against Trump.
Former President Donald Trump, who wasn’t part of the case, hasn’t been clued in yet on the deal either, according to the court filing.
The Justice Department represents McGahn in the matter. A private lawyer for McGahn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This comes a week before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals was set to hear another round of arguments in the McGahn subpoena case — and the court was teed up to determine more about the balance of power between the two branches. The congressional and executive branches have long sought to avoid judicial decisions like these.
“The Committee on the Judiciary and the Executive Branch have reached an agreement in principle on an accommodation and anticipate filing, as soon as possible, a joint motion asking the Court to remove this case from the May 19, 2021 oral argument calendar in order to allow the parties to implement the accommodation.
“Former President Trump, who is not a party to this case, is not a party to the agreement in principle regarding an accommodation,” the House and the Biden administration wrote to the appeals court on Tuesday night.
McGahn has been holding off the testimony for almost two years — with the Trump-era Justice Department defending him — as the House Judiciary Committee has sought and failed to force his appearance under a subpoena in an investigation of Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation following Mueller’s final report documenting obstruction.
Earlier proceedings in the McGahn case prompted one of the most striking rebukes to the then-President from a federal court, when District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson first ruled that McGahn must testify and the Trump White House couldn’t block its former officials from congressional investigations.
“Presidents are not kings,” Jackson wrote in 2019.
But the court case, and others like it between the House and Trump, dragged on, effectively blocking major parts of congressional investigations into Trump while he still held office.