House Panel Leaves Door Open for More Impeachment Articles

(CN) – Still fighting for the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn related to the 2016 election, the House Judiciary Committee said Monday it could recommend more articles of impeachment be brought against President Donald Trump.

Then-White House counsel Don McGahn at a Cabinet meeting in the White House in October 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted last week to adopt two articles of impeachment against Trump – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – over claims that he tried to strong-arm Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do him a political favor in return for military assistance that his country desperately needed and a sought-after visit to the White House.

Trump sent his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to push Zelensky to gin up investigations of his political opponent Joe Biden and sow doubt into the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The House vote made the 45th president of the United States only the third in history to bear the stain of impeachment, paving the way for a trial in the Senate.

Since then, courts in Washington, D.C. have grappled with the potential effects impeachment has on pending cases.

One such case is that of McGahn, who House Democrats have subpoenaed to testify on Trump obstructing the FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Last month, a federal judge ordered him to testify and the government appealed.

The Justice Department has argued McGahn’s subpoena is now moot after the House approved the articles of impeachment. However, the government backtracked on Monday, telling the D.C. Circuit that the impeachment vote only removed the need to proceed expeditiously.

In its own brief filed Monday, the House Judiciary Committee told the D.C. Circuit that McGahn’s testimony “is vital to the House’s ongoing impeachment proceedings in several respects” – suggesting additional articles of impeachment could be pursued.

“If McGahn’s testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the articles approved by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly—including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” the brief states. “The Committee’s interest in obtaining McGahn’s testimony pursuant to its ongoing impeachment investigations plainly suffices to preserve a live case or controversy.”

The Judiciary Committee also argues that McGahn could shed light on issue central to the articles of impeachment that have already been approved, and his testimony would be used in the Senate trial.

“This case is not moot first because McGahn was a witness to several of the president’s past efforts to undermine investigations into foreign interference in elections, which relate directly to the obstruction of Congress article of impeachment,” the brief states. “McGahn’s testimony would thus inform the House’s decision-making about impeachment and presentation of the articles in a Senate trial.”

Attorneys for McGahn and the House Judiciary Committee could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

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