A federal appeals court in Washington D.C. granted the Justice Department’s request to temporarily stay a lower court ruling compelling former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena.
The appeals court’s decision means that arguments will be heard at the beginning of January to decide whether the court should grant a longer stay and whether the White House can assert “absolute immunity” to shield top aides from testifying before Congress.
The House Judiciary Committee wants to hear from McGahn over allegations President Trump tried to obstruct the Russia election interference investigation.
The move by the appeals court comes a day federal district court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson issued a seven-day stay while McGahn’s lawyers sought their appeal. While the House Judiciary Committee opposed any stay on the order for McGahn to appear on Capitol Hill, the committee said it would not oppose an administrative stay.
Jackson ruled on Monday that McGahn must appear before Congress pursuant to a subpoena issued earlier this year, saying that if McGahn wanted to assert executive privilege to avoid testifying, he needs to appear before Congress and do it himself.
The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn on April 22, but the White House quickly blocked his appearance. Monday's ruling had apparent ramifications for Democrats seeking to compel other top White House officials to testify as part of their ongoing impeachment inquiry concerning President Trump’s Ukraine policy.
The panel has been probing possible obstruction of justice by the president in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
Fox News' William Mears contributed to this report.