Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The House judiciary committee filed a lawsuit Wednesday to compel testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn.
The panel stated that McGahn's testimony is essential to its investigation into whether to consider articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump based on former special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
"McGahn, who was the White House counsel during the relevant period, is the most important witness, other than the president, to the key events that are the focus of the judiciary committee's investigation," the filing states.
Last week a statement from Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., pushed the number of House Democrats in support of beginning impeachment proceedings against Trump above 50 percent.
The lawsuit stated that the committee is currently determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump, but "cannot fulfill this most solemn constitutional responsibility" without hearing testimony from McGahn.
It went on to state that McGahn has defied a congressional subpoena at Trump's direction.
McGahn's attorney, William A. Bruck, said he does not believe his client witnessed any violation of law and had "an ethical obligation to protect client confidences."
He added that Trump had directed Trump to fully cooperate with the special counsel in his investigation but not to testify before Congress unless the White House and the committee reached an accommodation.
"When faced with competing demands from co-equal branches of government, Don will follow his former client's instruction, absent a contrary decision from the federal judiciary," Bruck said.