The House Judiciary Committee, still fighting in court for former White House counsel Don McGahn’s testimony, suggested Monday that it was considering articles of impeachment in addition to those adopted by the House last Wednesday.
The suggestion came in a court filing requested by the appeals court considering the McGahn lawsuit. The appeals court sought briefing on how the House impeachment proceedings last week affected the case.
The impeachment articles the House voted on earlier this month focused on President Trump’s Ukraine conduct, rather than his obstructive behavior towards special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
The House has been in a legal battle over whether McGahn must testify about episodes mentioned in Mueller’s report since August. The legal fight predates the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign.
In the court filing, the House argued that the current impeachment situation did not yield the case moot, nor did it make it any less urgent.
“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 House said.
Additionally, the House emphasized that McGahn could provide evidence that would help the House argue its current case against Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, which is expected to start next month.
“For example, if McGahn confirms to the Committee that the President ordered him to fire Special Counsel Mueller — an event that President Trump has publicly disputed — and then tried to cover it up, that testimony would constitute powerful evidence of the pattern of obstructive behavior described in the second Article,” the House said, referring to the second impeachment article the House adopted last week, which alleges Trump obstructed Congress’ Ukraine inquiry.
Finally, the House stressed that there are reasons within Congress’ legislative and oversight functions necessitating McGahn’s testimony.
In its own brief Monday morning, the Justice Department pointed to that last reason in conceding that the case had not been entirely made moot by the recent impeachment vote. However, the Justice Department argued that the impeachment vote meant that the appeals court no longer needed to fast-track the case.
The House pushed back on that claim in its filing, bringing up the Senate trial as well as the possibility of more impeachment articles.
“The Committee’s need for McGahn’s testimony is also acute given the urgent nature of the oversight and legislative reforms the Committee is pursuing. In its oversight role, the Committee is investigating whether law enforcement matters at DOJ and the FBI are vulnerable to improper political interference. And the Committee is considering legislative reforms that would prevent such interference, preserve election security, protect campaign finance systems, and address other important issues,” the filing said.
“With each day that passes, the Committee is further deprived of information that could assist it in crafting responsible laws to protect ongoing criminal investigations and safeguard the integrity of America’s elections in 2020,” the House later added.
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