The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed former White House Counsel Don McGahn for testimony following the release of the redacted report from special counsel Robert Mueller.
In a statement, Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, said the committee had asked for documents from McGahn by May 7 and for him to testify on May 21.
“Mr McGahn is a critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Mueller report,” Nadler said.
A lawyer for McGahn was not immediately available for comment.
The redacted version of Mueller’s report outlined multiple instances in which President Donald Trump tried to thwart Mueller’s probe. While it stopped short of concluding Trump had committed a crime, it did not exonerate him. Attorney General William Barr, a Trump appointee, subsequently concluded that Trump had not broken the law. Mueller also noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law.
In June 2017, Trump directed McGahn to tell the then-acting attorney general that Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed, the report said.
McGahn refused to carry out Trump’s order to fire Mueller “for fear of being seen as triggering another ‘Saturday night massacre’, referring to a term used during Nixon’s Watergate scandal.
Representative Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, accused Nadler of acting prematurely on Monday.
“Don McGahn sat for more than 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel’s investigation, and the chairman has answered that with a stunning 36-item subpoena,” Collins said in a statement. “Instead of looking at material that Attorney General Barr has already made available, Democrats prefer to demand additional materials they know are subject to constitutional and common-law privileges and cannot be produced.”
Earlier this month, the panel authorised the subpoenas for several former White House officials, including McGahn, former political adviser Steve Bannon, communications director Hope Hicks, chief of staff Reince Priebus and deputy counsel Ann Donaldson.
The subpoena comes as House panels ramp up their investigations of Trump.
Late last week, Nadler subpoenaed the Justice Department for the full, unredacted Mueller report. He said on Sunday, he was adding McGahn to the list of people he would call to testify before his committee, along with Mueller and Attorney General William Barr.
“The Special Counsel’s report, even in redacted form, outlines substantial evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction and other abuses,” Nadler said in his statement on Monday. “It now falls to Congress to determine for itself the full scope of the misconduct and to decide what steps to take in the exercise of our duties of oversight, legislation and constitutional accountability.
Mueller’s report also confirmed that Russian operatives had attempted to interfere in the 2016 election to help Trump beat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, including by hacking into email accounts.
The report found that Trump’s campaign took advantage of the effects on Clinton, but did not deliberately reach out to collude with the Russians.
Trump has repeatedly called Mueller’s investigation a “witch-hunt” and “hoax”. On Monday, he told reporters he was “not even a little bit” worried about impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues on Monday that “while our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth”.
She urged Democratic politicians to proceed “free from passion or prejudice”.
Al Jazeera and news agencies