May 8, 2019

House Judiciary threatens to hold Don McGahn in contempt

Former White House counsel Donald McGahn. Photo: Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) threatened to hold former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress on Tuesday evening should he refuse to testify before the panel and comply with its subpoena request.

Why it matters: McGahn, a key witness from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, was asked to turn over documents by May 7 that could shed light on potential obstruction by President Trump highlighted in the Mueller report and to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on May 21. White House counsel Pat Cipollone instructed McGahn to withhold subpoenaed documents that the panel requested.

Details: Cipollone told McGahn's lawyer that the committee must negotiate with the White House and that Trump has the right to invoke executive privilege and prevent the records from being disclosed.

But Nadler responded Tuesday in a letter to McGahn’s attorney, arguing that if McGahn failed to appear before the panel, "I fully expect that the Committee will hold Mr. McGahn in contempt … unless the White House secures a court order directing otherwise."

  • Nadler also added that the White House would also need to "provide an explanation for why full compliance is not possible and a log identifying with specificity the ground(s) for withholding each withheld document" if executive privilege is cited.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 14,800

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people for the second day in a row, and it's infected over 432,000 others, per Johns Hopkins data.

Where it stands: More than 14,800 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. — including over 4,500 in New York. The state's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in New York in 24 hours. N.Y. has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

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World coronavirus updates: U.K. PM "stable, improving" in intensive care

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

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Zoom in: The update comes as ministers meet to discuss whether to extend the United Kingdom's lockdown and after the country's health officials reported Wednesday the highest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths — 938, taking the total to over 7,300. London Mayor said Wednesday the U.K. is "nowhere near lifting the lockdown," with the virus not expected to peak there until next week.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,484,811 — Total deaths: 88,538 — Total recoveries: 329,876Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 432,132 — Total deaths: 14,817 — Total recoveries: 23,906Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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