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Appeals court issues stay for former White House counsel

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2018, file photo, then-White House counsel Don McGahn listens as Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. A federal judge has ordered McGahn to appear before Congress in a setback to President Donald Trumps effort to keep his top aides from testifying. The outcome could lead to renewed efforts by House Democrats to compel testimony from other high-ranking officials, including former national security adviser John Bolton. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP, File)

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has issued an administrative stay of a lower court’s ruling ordering former White House counsel Donald McGahn to appear before Congress.

In its order Wednesday night, the appeals court says it will consider issuing a longer stay and set oral arguments for a hearing Jan. 3.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson had ruled Monday that McGahn would have to appear before Congress in response to a subpoena, rejecting the Trump administration’s argument that “absolute immunity” shielded top aides from congressional questioning.

In an order earlier Wednesday, Jackson temporarily delayed the effect of her own ruling, which the Justice Department had appealed.

The House Judiciary Committee sought McGahn’s testimony about efforts by Trump to obstruct the investigation into Russian election interference.