A D.C. federal judge on Wednesday shot down an attempt by House Judiciary Committee Democrats to link their subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn to a separate request for secret grand jury information from the Russia investigation after the Justice Department accused them of trying to "game the system."
Normally cases are assigned to judges randomly, which the DOJ said is meant to keep parties from “attempting to game the system” by “shopping” for a judge they like. But in a Tuesday court filing, the department alleged the Democrat-controlled committee was trying to do exactly that by exploiting an exception that allows “related” cases to be heard by the same judge. In this case, the DOJ said the panel improperly sought to connect the McGahn case to the grand jury case simply because they're both part of their investigation of President Trump.
"[A]t first blush, the House Judiciary Committee's view that the related case rule applies is understandable," D.C. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell wrote in her order rejecting the bid. "Nonetheless, closer examination demonstrates that these connections between the two cases are too superficial and attenuated for the instant McGahn Subpoena Case to qualify[.]"
“This later-filed, subpoena-enforcement suit involves no issues of fact or law common to the earlier Grand Jury application, nor does it focus on a common event or transaction such that the matters would be ‘related,’” the DOJ argued in its court filing.