President Trump is considering invoking executive privilege to prevent former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying before Congress, a top adviser said Wednesday.
“Executive privilege is on the table,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters. “That’s his right. There’s a reason our democracy and our constitutional government allow for that.”
Such a move would escalate the political and legal battle between the White House and congressional Democrats over House-led investigations in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia probe.
Trump has signaled he will stonewall Democrats, saying there is “no reason” to cooperate with congressional investigations into his administration, campaign and businesses that he views as politically motivated.
Conway said the White House had already given “great deal of executive cooperation and compliance”
to the special counsel, which did not charge Trump with any crimes.
“What else is there to know?” she asked.
But Democrats say Trump waived his right to invoke privilege on aides whom he allowed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, setting up a lengthy court fight if Trump follows through with the move.
McGahn spent hours speaking to the special counsel’s office, supplying testimony and contemporaneous notes detailing Trump’s efforts to fire Mueller and then cover it up in the media. The former White House counsel’s name was mentioned more than 150 times in the special counsel’s report, which was redacted in part.
Trump was angry with his former White House counsel, believing he was disloyal and helped paint a damaging picture of his presidency, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking.
The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn on Monday to appear before the panel.