The head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel faced criticism Tuesday for standing by its stance that top White House advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress, even after that position has been hammered by judges.

“That theory has no support in judicial precedent; indeed, it has been outright rejected by federal judges appointed by presidents of both parties,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, the chair of Senate Judiciary’s subcommittee on the courts. “But it lives on, in a parallel universe, over at OLC, and a private one at that, as OLC opinions are often kept secret from Congress and the public. OLC seems to disregard determinations by Article III courts of what the law is.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM.