The real reason Jerry Nadler just subpoenaed Don McGahn

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler spent the weekend speaking on television about the possibility of impeaching Donald Trump – and that’s crucial, because the impeachment process begins with his committee. Now Nadler has issued a subpoena to one of the most important witnesses in the Mueller report: former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

First things first: why does Don McGahn need to be subpoenaed? He clearly provided willing and thorough cooperation to Robert Mueller, so he can be expected to do the same for the House Judiciary Committee. But the subpoena helps ensure that Donald Trump and his lawyers can’t step in and belatedly try to invoke executive privilege or some other form of privilege, in the name of trying to muzzle McGahn or preventing him from turning over relevant documents. If Trump tries it, McGahn can simply point to the fact that his subpoena compels him to answer these questions.

But why call McGahn at all? After all, everything he has to say about Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice has already been printed in the Mueller report. That’s actually the point. Presumably only a tiny percentage of Americans have read the four hundred page document. For that matter, only a small fraction of Americans watch cable news on a daily basis. Most Americans probably haven’t even heard about what McGahn said in the report. By having McGahn testify on live national television, it changes everything. People will tune in to watch, in droves.

Palmer Report explained last week that if House Democrats are looking at impeaching Donald Trump, their first step will be to bring in Robert Mueller and his key cooperators to publicly testify, so the general public can be made fully aware of what Mueller uncovered. Democrats can move forward with this process without having to commit to impeachment – or even use the word “impeachment” – for at least another month. Sure enough, Nadler wants Don McGahn to testify on May 21st, roughly a month from now. Whether impeachment ends up happening or not, the groundwork for impeachment is steadily coming together.

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