You are not our king, judge warns Trump

Scottish Daily Mail - - The Brexmas Election - Mail For­eign Ser­vice

DON­ALD Trump was told ‘you are not a king’ by a judge who or­dered his aides to help the im­peach­ment in­quiry.

She de­manded that Don­ald McGahn ap­pear be­fore Congress in what was a set­back for the US Pres­i­dent’s ef­forts to keep his in­ner cir­cle from tes­ti­fy­ing.

The out­come could lead to re­newed ef­forts by Democrats to com­pel tes­ti­mony from other high-rank­ing of­fi­cials, who have all been told by Mr Trump to ig­nore sub­poe­nas for an in­quiry he calls ‘the great hoax’.

But Judge Ke­tanji Brown Jack­son ruled not even his clos­est aides could ‘ig­nore or defy con­gres­sional com­pul­sory process, by or­der of the Pres­i­dent or oth­er­wise’. She wrote: ‘Stated sim­ply, the pri­mary take­away from the past 250 years of recorded Amer­i­can his­tory is that pres­i­dents are not kings.

‘This means they do not have sub­jects, bound by loy­alty or blood, whose des­tiny they are en­ti­tled to con­trol.’ White House press sec­re­tary Stephanie Gr­isham claimed the de­ci­sion con­tra­dicted long­stand­ing le­gal prece­dents.

She added: ‘We will ap­peal and are con­fi­dent that the im­por­tant

‘Bound by loy­alty or blood’

con­sti­tu­tional prin­ci­ple ad­vanced by the ad­min­is­tra­tion will be vin­di­cated.’

The White House has ar­gued that Mr McGahn, its for­mer le­gal coun­sel, and other wit­nesses have ‘ab­so­lute im­mu­nity’ from tes­ti­fy­ing at an in­quiry de­signed to re­move Mr Trump from of­fice.

But such im­mu­nity ‘sim­ply does not ex­ist’, Judge Jack­son wrote in her 118-page rul­ing.

‘That is to say, how­ever busy or essen­tial a pres­i­den­tial aide might be, and what­ever their prox­im­ity to sen­si­tive do­mes­tic and na­tional-se­cu­rity projects, the Pres­i­dent does not have the power to ex­cuse him or her.’

Whether Mr McGahn has to pro­vide all the in­for­ma­tion Congress seeks, though, is another mat­ter, the judge wrote. The Pres­i­dent may be able to as­sert ‘ex­ec­u­tive priv­i­lege’ over sen­si­tive is­sues. The Democrats hope Mr

McGahn will pro­vide vi­tal ev­i­dence of ‘high crimes and mis­de­meanours’ as they try to im­peach Mr Trump for mis­us­ing the power of the Oval Of­fice.

He is ac­cused of us­ing the presidency for his own gain by with­hold­ing £300mil­lion in mil­i­tary aid from Ukraine un­less it agreed to dig for dirt on his political ri­val Joe Bi­den.

After two weeks of live hear­ings, watched by mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, the Democrats are us­ing the shut­down over Thanks­giv­ing to eval­u­ate the ev­i­dence. A bid to lay charges against Mr Trump is ex­pected be­fore Christ­mas with any trial set for Jan­uary.

Rul­ing: Ke­tanji Brown Jack­son

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