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Trump may have already doomed the White House’s desperate fight to stop a key Mueller witness from testifying

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Democrats want former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in a public hearing about President Donald Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice, and the administration may be completely unable to stop it.

McGahn, one of the most prominent figures in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which outlines an exhaustive case that Trump obstructed justice on numerous occasions, has already been subpoenaed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. According to a new report from the Washington Post, the White House wants to exert executive privilege to stop the testimony.

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If McGahn were to recount what he told Mueller as it is reflected in the report, it would be a damning spectacle for the presidency.

And the attempts to invoke executive privilege may be doomed.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney noted that, based on Trump’s previous remarks about the Mueller report, Attorney General Bill Bar said the White House has already effectively waived executive privilege on McGahn’s testimony.

“Going to be hard to put that genie back in the bottle,” he said.

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Cheney also said that House Judiciary Committee members believe think that Trump waived executive privilege by allowing McGahn and others to testify in the first place. This claim, though, is arguably less persuasive. Since Mueller was an employee of the Justice Department, which is part of the executive branch, there could be a credible argument that anything said to him still remains within the purview of the executive privilege. However, the fact that Mueller’s report has since been made public, including many citations of McGahn’s testimony, does suggest that the privileged opportunity has expired.

George Conway, a prominent conservative lawyer and husband to Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, argued that, indeed, Trump had already waived privilege.

“So these aides were allowed to speak to Mueller for a purpose other than providing advice to the president or carrying out sensitive foreign-relations missions—the two principal purposes of executive privilege—and then a report summarizing what they told Mueller was … released to the public. Any executive privilege has been waived,” he tweeted. “Twice.”

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“Time to find out how much of a patriot McGahn’s actually wants to be,” said former DOJ spokesman Matthew Miller. “The WH initially tried to block Sally Yates from testifying too. If McGahn wants to do it, they can’t stop him.”

The Post reported of McGahn:

“He’s not eager to testify. He’s not reluctant. He got a subpoena. It compels him to testify. But there are some countervailing legal reasons that might prevent that,” said one person close to McGahn, who requested anonymity to describe private discussions. “He doesn’t want to be in contempt of Congress nor does he want to be in contempt of his ethical obligations and legal obligations as a former White House official.”

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CNN legal analyst Ross Garber suggested that the White House may be successful in using privilege to block McGahn’s testimony. But that approach could raise its own perils.

“Invoking impeachment power might strengthen the House’s claimed need for and entitlement to the testimony,” Garber tweeted.

So if the White House is successful in advancing a dubious claim of privilege, it might actually accelerate the House’s drive to begin formal impeachment proceedings.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Texas governor busted sending racist call-to-arms a day before El Paso attack: ‘take matters into our own hands’

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On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tweeted out a message of unity and promised to work to reduce violence in his state, in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead and dozens more injured:

Today we had hearings responding to the tragic shooting in El Paso.

We focused on community healing, combating domestic terrorism, reducing hateful ideologies, & keeping guns out of hands of deranged killers while respecting 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll keep TX safe.#txlege pic.twitter.com/ymct4aiSgK

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Facebook bans far-right website from pro-Trump advertising after they try to skirt transparency rules

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On Thursday, NBC News reported that Facebook has banned the Epoch Times from placing political advertisements, after the right-wing website tried to conceal its multimillion-dollar dark money streams and get around the social network's political advertising transparency rules in its propaganda supporting President Donald Trump.

The Epoch Times had tried to skirt rules by running ads under puppet names like "Honest Paper" and "Pure American Journalism," confusing users about who was really behind the ads.

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GOP leaders are pressuring Kansas Republican to resign from Congress immediately: report

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On Thursday, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Republicans in Kansas and Washington are pressuring Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS) to step down after just eight months in office.

It is currently unclear why they are calling for his resignation.

Watkins has thus far given no indications he will leave office. His spokesman Jim Joice stated that he has no plans to resign, and disputed the idea that Republican officials are pressuring him to do so, but acknowledged there have been conversations around the topic.

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