Donald Trump just swung and missed on Don McGahn

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Donald Trump just went on Fox News this evening and announced that he’s not going to let former White House Counsel Don McGahn testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Pardon me for a moment while I try not to keel over from laughing at the news, because Trump can’t do that.

Don McGahn is a former employee. He no longer works for Donald Trump’s White House, or for any part of the government. Trump can file suit to try to stop McGahn from testifying, but that’ll be about as effective as Trump filing suit to try to stop me from eating a bowl of ice cream. It’s just not Trump’s legal purview, not in his role as McGahn’s former employer, and not in his role as the current president.

Based on all the cooperation that McGahn gave Robert Mueller in order to clear his own name, McGahn is surely perfectly willing to give cooperative testimony to Congress. The House Judiciary Committee has a friendly subpoena on McGahn in place, which gives him all the legal cover to testify against Trump that he could ever need. On the day the committee tells McGahn to show up and testify, he will. By that time, any frivolous legal action on Trump’s part will have been tossed out. What’s Trump going to do, order Stephen Miller to go trip McGahn on his way up the Capitol Hill stairs?

It’s not clear if Donald Trump is knowingly bluffing on this, or if he truly doesn’t understand that he can’t stop Don McGahn from testifying. It wouldn’t be shocking if it’s the latter, considering all the various reports that Trump wasn’t aware that he didn’t have attorney-client privilege with McGahn back when he was White House Counsel. Trump lazily doesn’t know the law in general, and it looks like it just came back to bite him. Either way, this is a swing and a miss.

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