House Democrats are facing yet another attempt by President Trump to stonewall their investigations, this time with former White House counsel Donald McGahn defying a subpoena for his testimony on orders from the White House, the Associated Press reports. McGahn skipped Tuesday’s House Judiciary hearing, leaving the Democrats without yet another witness and a growing debate within the party about how to respond. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), is taking a step-by-step approach to the confrontations with Trump. Nadler said the committee would vote to hold McGahn in contempt, and take the issue to court.
“You face serious consequences if you do not appear,” Nadler warned McGahn on the eve of the hearing. Democrats are encouraged by an early success as a federal judge ruled against Trump on Monday in a financial records dispute with Congress. That hasn’t been enough for some members of the Judiciary panel who say Pelosi should launch impeachment hearings that would make it easier to get information from the administration. Such hearings would give Democrats more standing in court. The issue was raised in a meeting among top Democrats Monday evening, where some members confronted Pelosi about opening impeachment hearings. Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin made the case launching an impeachment inquiry would consolidate the Trump investigations as Democrats try to keep focus on their other work. Nadler said “it’s possible” when asked about impeachment hearings after a meeting with Pelosi. McGahn’s refusal to testify is the latest of several moves to block Democratic investigations by Trump, who has said his administration will fight “all of the subpoenas.” The Judiciary committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt this month after he declined to provide an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.