DOJ Asks Appeals Court To Halt Ruling Ordering McGahn Testimony Before House

on February 22, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland.
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 22: White House Counsel Don McGahn speaks during CPAC 2018 February 22, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. The American Conservative Union hosted its annual Conservative Political Acti... NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 22: White House Counsel Don McGahn speaks during CPAC 2018 February 22, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. The American Conservative Union hosted its annual Conservative Political Action Conference to discuss conservative agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 27, 2019 10:13 a.m.

The Justice Department on Wednesday asked an appeals court to prepare to halt a district judge’s ruling ordering that Don McGahn comply with a House subpoena for his testimony.

The Trump administration has already asked the judge herself to pause her ruling while it’s appealed. The Justice Department told the appeals court Wednesday that, even though the House had agreed to a seven-day administrative hold on the ruling, the administration was making the request of the appeals court now out of an “abundance of caution.”

“[T]he Department may need relief from this Court as early as December 4, one week from today,” the administration said, while promising to inform the appeals court “when the district court acts.”

The administration was also filing the emergency stay request now, it said, “so that the government has sufficient time, if necessary, to seek relief in the Supreme Court.”

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled Monday evening that McGahn was not, as the administration claimed, shielded by an “absolute” immunity that allowed the President to block him from showing up for compelled testimony.

By Tuesday morning, the administration had indicated it was appealing the decision and had asked Judge Jackson to put on hold her ruling while it does. The House on Tuesday evening, citing the impeachment proceedings, requested that the judge not put her ruling on pause beyond the seven-day stay lawmakers were willing to agree to.

In its request to the appeals court Wednesday morning, the administration asked the appeals court for both an administrative stay for when the judge considers her next move as well as a pause while the case is fully appealed.

“If the Court denies this request, we respectfully request that the Court at a minimum enter an administrative stay, or continue such a stay, for a reasonable period to allow the Solicitor General an opportunity to seek relief from the Supreme Court,” the Justice Department said.

Read the filing below:

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