WASHINGTON (AP) — House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler gaveled open a Trump-Russia hearing Tuesday with an empty witness chair and a stern warning that former White House Counsel Don McGahn will be held in contempt for failing to appear in defiance of the committee’s subpoena..
“Our subpoenas are not optional,” Nadler said. The panel will hear from McGahn “one way or another,” he said. “This committee will have no choice but to enforce the subpoena against him.”
The committee voted to adjourn the hearing.
Democrats are facing yet another attempt by President Donald Trump to stonewall their investigations . This time they’re blocked from hearing from McGahn — a chief eyewitness to the president’s handling of the federal Russia investigation — on orders from the White House.
A lawyer for McGahn had said he would follow the president’s directive and skip Tuesday’s 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 Nadler, 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.