May 7 (UPI) -- The House judiciary committee cannot ask former White House counsel Donald McGahn for documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation because he doesn't own the legal right to them, the Trump administration said Tuesday.
House Democrats are seeking the documents as part of their effort to get a full picture of the investigation and its conclusions.
White House legal counsel Pat A. Cipollone said in a letter to the committee that lawmakers, however, must obtain permission from the White House for the records. McGahn is a key witness in the judiciary committee's Russia investigation.
The panel, via subpoena, ordered McGahn to turn over the documents by Tuesday. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney directed McGahn not to comply, Cipollone said. The judiciary committee is still determining whether to ask McGahn to testify this month.
McGahn's attorney William Burck wrote judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler that "the appropriate response for Mr. McGahn is to maintain the status quo unless and until Congress can reach an agreement with the executive branch."