Donald Trump's advisors must comply with Congressional subpoenas in the context of the political trial investigation against the president, according to the ruling of a court of appeals in Washington.
In a case that involved the ex-accused of the White House Don McGahn, who was summoned in May by the Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives, Judge Ketanji Jackson ruled that senior administration officials cannot claim absolute immunity from testifying based on his closeness with the US president.
"The presidents are not kings," Jackson wrote in his decision. "No one, not even the head of the Executive Branch, is above the law," said the magistrate.RELATED
-Fault applicable to all-
While the ruling is specific to McGahn's case, the judge said it was applicable to all current and past president's assistants. Several senior Trump-related officials have evaded congressional subpoenas to testify.
"Needless to say, the law applies to the outlaw of the White House Don McGahn, as well as other current and former senior officials of the White House," he wrote.
In that sense, he said that Congress has the power to quote any of the president's advisors, whether they are involved in domestic policies or sensitive national security issues.
That ruling could lead to the Intelligence Committee of the House of Representatives, which prepares impeachment charges against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal, forces the testimony of three fundamental witnesses: former national security former John Bolton, the chief of staff of the White House, Mick Mulvaney, and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
Democrats suspect that everyone has direct knowledge of Trump's alleged request to President of Ukraine Volodimir Zelenski to investigate his political rival Joe Biden in exchange for the release of compromised military aid.
The Democrats announced on September 24 the beginning of an investigation to determine if Trump had abused his powers to make that request to the Ukrainian president.
"For those witnesses who hide behind fallacious claims of absolute immunity, this ruling shows again how useless their position is," the president of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said in a statement.
-Without “absolute immunity” –
The ruling could also boost another stagnant case of the Judiciary Committee that could also lead to a political trial against Trump: his alleged obstruction to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Mueller's final report presented in April described 10 events of alleged obstruction by the president.
"Don McGahn is a central witness to the allegations that President Trump obstructed the investigation of Special Advisor Mueller," Judicial Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement.
"The administration’s claim that officials can claim‘ absolute immunity ’over Congressional subpoenas has no legal basis, as the court acknowledged today," Nadler added.
Trump's testimony, however, will not be soon, as the Justice Department plans to appeal the ruling, said spokesman Kerri Kupec.
That could take the case to the Supreme Court, and in the meantime, the department could request a suspension of the legal process to prevent McGahn or others from speaking to the two committees.
Visibly irritated, Trump – who could become the third president of the United States to face a political trial after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton – has increased his attack on his rivals who are carrying out the process.