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The Justice Department filed an objection to the House Judiciary Committee’s recent response to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in which the committee argued that the committee’s motion to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress should be designated as related to the committee’s efforts to obtain grand jury materials related to the Mueller investigation. The Justice Department objected, arguing that the committee is “attempting to game the system by shopping for a judge they perceive as more favorable to their cause,” in violation of the practice of lower courts randomly assigning cases to judges on the court.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the committee’s motion to designate the McGahn subpoena case as related to its efforts to obtain grand jury material. Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell wrote that the ability to designate all cases emerging from the committee’s investigation to a specific judge on the court would be a manipulation of the random assignment rule. Moreover, she wrote, the committee failed to show that the core issues in both cases were similar enough to designate them related.