Democrats investigating Donald Trump suffered a major setback on Friday as a federal appeals court ruled they could not sue to enforce a congressional subpoena seeking testimony from the president’s former White House counsel.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a lawsuit filed by the Democrat-controlled House judiciary committee, which sought to compel Don McGahn, who was the top lawyer in the White House, to testify about Mr Trump’s conduct.
The 2-to-1 split decision was a boost for the president, who has aggressively challenged efforts by Democratic investigators to delve into his administration and business affairs.
Judge Thomas Griffith said in the court’s opinion that the House judiciary committee had no right to ask a federal court to resolve a dispute for information between Congress and the White House.
He wrote that the courts could not act as “an ombudsman for interbranch information disputes” and warned that ruling otherwise would invite an avalanche of litigation.
“The walk from the Capitol to our courthouse is a short one, and if we resolve this case today, we can expect Congress’s lawyers to make the trip often,” he wrote.