Trump Impeachment

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White House Aides Can Be Made To Testify Against The Administration

The ruling specifically compels former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. When Congress sent him a subpoena in May, McGahn refused to attend.

A Department of Justice spokesperson told Reuters news agency that they would appeal against the ruling.

Mr McGahn, who left his post in October 2018, was called to appear before the House Judiciary Committee in May to answer questions about the president's attempts to impede the now-concluded Mueller investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Months later, the House Judiciary Committee was responsible for filing articles of impeachment against Mr Trump.

The Trump administration has refused to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry and other Democrat-led investigations, directing current and former White House officials to defy subpoenas for testimony and documents.

But in her ruling, US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said that no one is above the law. Judge Jackson relayed that executive branch officials are not absolutely immune from compulsory congressional process - no matter how many times the executive branch has asserted as much over the years - even if the president expressly directs such officials' noncompliance.

Judge Jackson also explicitly said that the president does not have the power to stop his aides from responding to subpoenas from Congress - adding that presidents are not kings.

But Judge Jackson did say that Mr McGahn could invoke executive privilege where appropriate, to protect potentially sensitive information. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said that he expects Mr McGahn to follow his legal obligations and promptly appear before the Committee.

Monday's ruling could have an effect on who testifies during the current impeachment hearings in Congress.

The US president is accused of withholding US military aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating his domestic political rival.

At the heart of the impeachment inquiry is a phone call on 25 July this year between Mr Trump and Ukraine's newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

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Author

Timothy Omondi