You are not our king, judge warns Trump
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