Former White House Counsel Don McGahn made it official: He will be a no-show at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, defying a subpoena and threats of enforcement from House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). In a letter to Nadler, McGahn's lawyer cites Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel's "detailed and persuasive" memo on why McGahn should say no, and the stated wishes of McGahn's "former client," President Trump.
There are other reasons that may be factoring in McGahn's decision, too. "If McGahn were to defy Trump and testify before Congress, it could endanger his own career in Republican politics and put his law firm, Jones Day, in the president's crosshairs," The Washington Post notes. "Trump has mused about instructing Republicans to cease dealing with the firm, which is deeply intertwined in Washington with the GOP." In fact, according to a new Federal Election Commission filing itemized by ProPublica, the Republican National Committee's top expense in April was $2 million for "legal and compliance services" to Jones Day, out of $14.3 million total spending last month.
Trump's motives are more clear. "Trump has fumed about McGahn for months, after it became clear that much of Mueller’s report was based on his testimony," the Post reports. "The president has bashed his former White House counsel on Twitter and has insisted to advisers that the attorney not be allowed to humiliate him in front of Congress, much as his former personal legal fixer Michael Cohen did."
Previous administrations have also held that close presidential advisers like the White House counsel are immune from compelled congressional testimony about their White House work, though a federal judge disagreed in 2008, the Post reports, ruing that former White House Counsel Harriet Miers had to at least show up to congressional hearings. Peter Weber
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump's increasingly strident calls to stop allowing Muslims into the U.S. and monitor or shut down mosques isn't very popular among Muslims, either in the U.S. or around the world. Trump may not care, given the very small Muslim population in the U.S., but there is at least one group of Muslims Trump has been courting for years — Gulf Arab businessmen — and they aren't pleased with his anti-Muslim rhetoric, either, The Associated Press reports.
Trump has done business in the Gulf Arab emirates for years, especially Dubai, including licensing his name for golf courses and starting development on luxury hotels and other real estate projects, and he has pushed to expand his hotel business in the region to 30 hotels by 2020. Now, Trump's brand is suffering. Dubai's Landmark Group is pulling all Trump home decor items from its 180 Lifestyle stores because, it said, it "values and respects the sentiments of its customer."
One of Trump's partners in the aborted 62-story Trump International Hotel and Tower, Emirati business magnate Khalaf al-Habtoor publicly backed Trump's presidential run in early August, but changed his mind late last month, throwing his support to Hillary Clinton in a column in the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National. "If he comes to my office, I will not let him in," al-Habtoor tells AP. "I reject him." The Emirati newspaper Gulf News was less charitable, writing Wednesday that Trump's "extremism is no different than that of Daesh," or the Islamic State. "Zip it, Donald," the paper added. "Just zip it." Peter Weber