A federal judge ruled Monday that former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify as part of the House's impeachment inquiry. File Photo by Jim Bourg/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 25 (UPI) -- A federal judge ruled Monday that President Donald Trump's former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify before the House in its impeachment inquiry.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued the ruling denying efforts by the White House to block McGahn from testifying in the impeachment proceedings stating that "presidents are not kings."
"However busy or essential a presidential aide might be and whatever their proximity to sensitive domestic and national-security projects, the president does not have the power to excuse him or her from taking an action that the law requires," Jackson wrote.
Justice Department lawyers made the case that lawmakers cannot force by subpoena any member of the Trump administration.
After the ruling, the Justice Department said it planned to appeal on McGahn's behalf.
House judiciary committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler praised the court's ruling on Twitter.
"Don McGahn is a central witness to allegations that President Trump obstructed special counsel [Robert] Mueller's investigation and the administration's claim that officials can claim 'absolute immunity' from Congressional subpoenas has no basis in law, as the court recognized today," Nadler wrote.
Nadler subpoenaed McGahn in April before the impeachment proceedings were officially announced and filed a lawsuit August seeking to compel his testimony after he defied the subpoena at Trump's direction.
Trump announced McGahn's departure from the White House in August 2018, shortly after he shared details in the Muller report about the firing of former FBI director James Comey, Trump's desire to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions oversee the Russia probe and Trump's attempts to fire Mueller.