White House intends to block former counsel from congressional testimony

The White House is expected to block the testimony of former White House counsel Donald McGahn before Congress about events relating to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

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The White House, along with McGahn’s personal counsel, are expected to notify House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., of the decision as early as Monday afternoon, sources told ABC News.

Earlier this month, the White House instructed McGahn not to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats for documents related to Mueller’s investigation.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued at the time that “McGahn does not have the legal right to disclose these documents to third parties” and asked that instead of directing requests for documents to McGahn’s attorney, the committee direct the requests to the White House.

McGahn was a central figure in the Mueller report and cooperated extensively with the special counsel’s probe. He met with Mueller’s team multiple times for more than 30 hours and questioned more extensively than any other member of the White House staff who went in for an interview.

“Mr. McGahn is a critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Mueller report,” Nadler wrote last month in a press release accompanying his subpoena request. “His testimony will help shed further light on the President’s attacks on the rule of law, and his attempts to cover up those actions by lying to the American people and requesting others do the same.”

Mueller had requested to speak with McGahn about the circumstances surrounding former FBI Director James Comey’s firing and his reported involvement in the events surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusing himself from the Russia investigation, the sources said.

ABC News previously reported that McGahn was among the White House staffers who were against any notion of President Trump’s firing of Mueller last June when the president wanted to do just that, a source said.

After news broke that Trump ordered McGahn to fire the special counsel, Trump pressured McGahn to deny that he had been directed to do so, even suggesting to aides that he would fire him unless he complied. Mueller concludes that there is evidence to suggest Trump acted this way to impede his investigation, according to the special counsel’s report.

Mueller concluded that “Substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging McGahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the Special Counsel terminated, the President acted for the purpose of influencing McGahn’s account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the President’s conduct towards the investigation.”

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