Fox News Senior Analyst Brit Hume said on Tuesday that he believed President Trump was on strong ground after former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to appear for testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
“Our subpoenas are not optional,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerrod Nadler. Nadler promised that the panel will hear from McGahn “one way or another” and that the House Judiciary Committee would have no choice but to enforce the subpoena against him.
Earlier this month, House Democrats questioned an empty chair when Attorney General William Barr failed to appear, citing strange demands from Democrats.
However, Committee Ranking member Representative Doug Collins, R-Ga., rebuked Nadler’s position, calling the session a “circus.” Collins added that Democrats are “trying desperately to make something out of nothing” in the aftermath of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report of findings in the Russia investigation.
On “America’s Newsroom,” Brit Hume told anchor Sandra Smith, “I think on this point that Nadler’s position may be weak on the law and some of these other assertions the president is making. For example, in regard to those financial records that a judge ordered turned over yesterday... I’m not sure the president is on such strong ground.
"But, on the McGahn testimony, I think he is. And, I think that’s sort of where we are. And, it will be interesting to see if Nadler tries to go to court. Because, if he does, I don’t think in the long run he will win," he continued.
Hume pointed to the Watergate case as an example of where Nadler’s argument falters. “I’m not sure Nadler has got it right when he says that the Supreme Court has rejected such claims…In the Watergate case where it had to do with tapes of White House conversations, they were turned over to a criminal inquiry, not a congressional hearing and the court in that opinion recognized the existence of an executive privilege for the purpose of making sure that presidents get confidential advice from their senior advisors.”
“That is a privilege that has long been recognized and if a White House counsel is not a senior advisor, I don’t know who is,” he said.
During the hearing, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) added, “If I were the White House I would fight this effort because they made McGahn available to Mueller and Mueller, to me, was the guy that we all considered to be fair. The Mueller report is in. Don McGahn testified for thirty hours and what I see going on in the House is more political revenge than it is anything else.”
Hume reacted to Graham’s comments: “The reasoning behind that according to the White House lawyers was Mueller was a subordinate official of the Department of Justice and that’s part of the Executive Branch. So, to reveal something within the Executive Branch—which is what, in fact, McGahn was doing is one thing.
"To testify about his advice to the President before a separate branch of government is quite another. And, I don’t know that particular point had ever been adjudicated specifically, but perhaps, in this case, it will be. But, I think the President and his team at least have an argument that it is quite a different thing to bring somebody up before Congress than it is to testify to a Justice Department investigator."
Chairman Nadler said the committee would vote to hold McGahn in contempt and take the issue to court. “We will not allow the President to stop this investigation,” said Nadler. A contempt vote is not expected until June.