In the wake of upcoming presidential elections, where Democrats are finding loopholes to target the opposition, federal judge’s recent ruling appeared as a huge blow to many in the country. According to the ruling, White House staff can be made to testify before Congress, rejecting the Trump administration’s claims of immunity.
Not only that, does it compel former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify to an inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 US election, but also has major implications for the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The case centers on whether the president pressurized Ukraine into investigating domestic political rival Joe Biden by threatening to withhold US military aid or not, alongside the controversial July 25th call between Trump and Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Since the call did take place between the two leaders, it’s become more of a mess that the opposition wants to get rid through Trump’s impeachment, condemning the move as an abuse of power on Ukraine. While the president has called it as a “witch hunt” inquiry.
Other than Don McGahn, the Democrats might use this as an opportunity to summon figures such as former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for more revelations and cross-questioning in the impeachment related matter.
The DOJ has stated to appeal the ruling.
Don McGahn was also called to appear before the House Judiciary Committee in May for cross questioning about the president’s attempts in committing obstruction of justice and Russian involvement in 2016 presidential elections.
Since the Trump administration 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, US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in her ruling stated that the president “does not have the power” to stop his aides from responding to subpoenas from Congress.
Jackson added that “no one is above the law”. The ruling indicated towards Don McGahn being an important witness in the entire impeachment inquiry. As Trump’s first White House counsel he had broad influence until he left the post in October 2018.
However, if McGahn wants, he could invoke executive privilege “where appropriate”, to protect potentially sensitive information.
With the new ruling, the Judiciary Committee would now draft the statements of Don McGahn and other senators alongside charges of wrongdoings that would initiate the process of impeachment. Later a trial would be held in the Republican-run Senate, where if the president is convicted by a two-thirds majority he would be impeached from the office.
Though the situations are less likely to occur, but if it does occur then it would be the very first time when a sitting president is removed from the office of power. This would in turn highly impact the Republicans position in the time ahead and Democrats would be the only strong party left to win the 2020 presidential elections.