In a blow to the Trump administration, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that Congress can enforce its subpoenas against White House officials, including former counsel Don McGahn, in court. The 7-2 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington overturns a three-judge panel’s decision that found congressional subpoenas to be unenforceable under the Constitution. Last year, at Trump’s behest, McGahn defied a House subpoena for his testimony in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. House Democrats then sued him, winning a judicial order that required him to testify. That lower-court decision was ultimately overturned by the panel, prompting the House to ask the appeals court to rehear the case.
“The Constitution charges Congress with certain responsibilities, including to legislate, to conduct oversight of the federal government, and, when necessary, to impeach and remove a President or other Executive Branch official from office,” Judge Judith Rogers wrote in the majority opinion. “Possession of relevant information is an essential precondition to the effective discharge of all of those duties.”