After McGahn appealed a judge’s ruling from earlier this week that he must speak to the House, the judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson, gave McGahn a temporary pause on his case on Wednesday. The judge will continue to consider whether her ruling Monday should be kept on hold as he appeals.
The judge noted that her order Wednesday “should not be construed in any way “as an indication of whether she agrees his testimony should stay on hold during the appeal.
Jackson on Monday decided McGahn must testify in the House impeachment probe about President Donald Trump’s actions, especially during the Russia investigation. House Democrats have said they want McGahn to speak to episodes where Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation. The judge also strongly rebuked the White House’s stonewalling of its current and former officials, which the administration says are immune from having to appear at congressional proceedings.
Justice Department lawyers who represent McGahn appealed the ruling quickly, asking the courts to hold off his testimony until the DC Circuit Court of Appeals can weigh in.
The ruling this week was the first major decision by a federal judge in the Trump administration on whether its officials must speak to the House. Another case, involving a former deputy national security adviser who could speak to Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine, is still tied up in court.
A decision from the DC Circuit on McGahn and immunity for White House officials would mark the first time an appeals court has interpreted its role in a stand off like this between the executive branch and Congress.