Judge orders Trump accounting firm to hand over records to Congress

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US President Donald Trump arrives to speak during the National Association of Realtors Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo in Washington, DC, on May 17, 2019.

Trump told reporters the decision was "crazy" and that it would be appealed.

"No one is above the law, including the president of the United States and we expect Mr. McGahn to come before the committee and testify". "The President acted against and again - perhaps criminally - to protect himself from federal law enforcement".

Another Democrat on the committee, David Cicilline, warned that if McGahn stays away on Tuesday, lawmakers might need to push ahead with an impeachment inquiry against Trump in order to compel his administration to produce witnesses and documents.

A USA federal judge on Monday denied President Donald Trump's efforts to quash a subpoena from Democratic lawmakers to release years of financial documents dating from before his time in the White House.

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"Congress may not constitutionally compel the President's senior advisers to testify about their official duties", Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel wrote.

Meanwhile, Cipollone wrote to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., to affirm that McGahn would not appear at any hearing on Tuesday as Democrats had hoped.

The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion on Monday that gave legal cover to the decision to block McGahn from testifying. Trump's lawyers accused Democrats of harassing Trump and said the subpoena "has no legitimate legislative goal".

McGahn was also dispatched by Trump to convince the former attorney general Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.

In the short term, the effect of Trump's and Barr's decisions is to stop House Democrats from getting more grist for investigations built to follow up on or build upon that completed by Mueller.

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Trump's lawyers have argued that Congress is on a quest to "turn up something that Democrats can use as a political tool against the president now and in the 2020 election".

The Cipollone letter explained to Nadler that McGahn has been directed by the acting chief of staff to the president, Mick Mulvaney, "not to produce the White House records sought by the subpoena because they remain subject to the control of the White House and implicate significant executive branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege".

Last week, the president tweeted he was "never a big fan" of McGahn and suggested it was the former White House counsel, and not Mueller, who was on his chopping block at the time of the investigation.

McGahn, who left the White House previous year, has increasingly become the subject of Trump's ire following the release of the redacted Mueller report.

US Attorney General William Barr was questioned this month about the matter by Senate Democrats.

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He could be held in contempt of Congress if he refuses to testify.