“As early as Wednesday, Democrats are expected to file a lawsuit to enforce their subpoena for former White House counsel Donald McGahn’s testimony, sharply escalating their dispute with the White House by sending the fight over a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to court for a resolution,” ABC News reports.
President Trump told ABC News that it “doesn’t matter” what his former White House counsel Don McGahn told special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump says McGahn “may have been confused” when he told Mueller that Trump instructed him multiple times to have the acting attorney general remove the special counsel because of perceived conflicts of interest.
When asked why McGahn would lie under oath, Trump said: “Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer. Or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen — including you, including the media — that Robert Mueller was conflicted. Robert Mueller had a total conflict of interest.”
“Former White House Counsel Don McGahn defied a congressional subpoena Tuesday by declining to testify before the House Judiciary Committee at the direction of the White House,” Bloomberg reports.
“The hearing room chair reserved for McGahn sat empty behind microphones, as committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York opened the scheduled hearing.”
Said Nadler: “This conduct is not remotely acceptable. Let me be clear: This committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it.”
“President Trump is preparing to instruct his former White House counsel, Donald McGahn, to defy a congressional subpoena and skip a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, denying Democrats testimony from one of the most important eyewitnesses to Mr. Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation,” the New York Times reports.
“If Mr. McGahn does not appear before the committee on Tuesday, he risks a contempt of Congress citation. At the same time, if he defies the White House, Mr. McGahn could not only damage his own career in Republican politics but also put his law firm, Jones Day, at risk of having the president urge his allies to withhold their business. The firm’s Washington practice is closely affiliated with the party.”
President Trump tweeted he was “never a big fan of” former White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Said Trump: “I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller. In fact, he was allowed to finish his Report with unprecedented help from the Trump Administration. Actually, lawyer Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!”
White House counsel Pat Cipollone has instructed former counsel Don McGahn to withhold subpoenaed documents from the House Judiciary Committee, the Washington Post reports.
Cipollone said McGahn does not have the legal right to the documents, and the committee must address any request for the materials to the White House.
The House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn, Axios reports.
“McGahn was a key cooperating witness in the Mueller investigation, shedding light on many of the episodes of potential obstruction by President Trump that Mueller highlighted in his report. The subpoena demands that McGahn testify at a hearing on May 21 and turn over dozens of documents related to Mueller’s investigation by May 7.”
“Late in Don McGahn’s tenure as White House counsel, President Trump became so suspicious that he wondered aloud whether McGahn was wearing a wire,” a source familiar with the president’s private conversations told Axios.
“We have no evidence that Trump’s suspicions have any basis in reality. But they reveal the depth of his paranoia about his former counsel, who sat for many hours with Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors.”
“Anger at McGahn after the report came out was shared among a number of Trump allies, both inside the White House and close to the president.”
“Former White House Counsel Don McGahn ended his tumultuous tenure at the White House with one last encounter in which President Donald Trump blamed him for Robert Mueller’s appointment,” CNN reports.
“In a face-to-face Oval Office meeting, the President groused to McGahn about Mueller’s appointment made on McGahn’s watch as White House counsel, and the cloud the investigation has continued to cast over the presidency.”
“White House counsel Don McGahn’s final day at the White House was Wednesday,” CNN reports.
“McGahn has been planning to leave the White House, but a source told CNN his departure was expedited after President Trump said Tuesday he had selected Patrick Cipolloneas his successor.”
Politico: “People who know both men said their mutual frustrations are often manifested in silence, rather than massive blow-ups… One outside associate of McGahn’s said it always bothered Trump that McGahn was ‘his own man and wouldn’t kowtow to him.’”
President Trump’s announcement of White House counsel Donald McGahn’s departure this fall “came as a surprise, including to McGahn,” the Washington Post reports.
Said one person close to McGahn: “He was surprised.”
“While it had been an open secret inside the White House that McGahn planned to leave after Kavanaugh’s confirmation process concludes, he had not discussed his plans directly with Trump.”
“In a rare warning from a leading Republican lawmaker, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) told President Trump to keep Don McGahn as the top White House lawyer,” Roll Call reports.
“Trump announced Wednesday that McGahn would leave his White House post this fall, but after the expected confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Grassley reacted to the announcement with his own tweet, expressing concern with the coming departure of an attorney who has urged the president to fully cooperate with Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s Russia election meddling probe.”
“Top White House officials and sources close to White House counsel Don McGahn tell Axios that McGahn will step down this fall — after Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, or after the midterms.”
“That potentially puts a successor in charge of fielding a blizzard of requests or subpoenas for documents and testimony if Democrats win control of the House in the midterms. And if the White House winds up fighting special counsel Robert Mueller, an epic constitutional fight could lie ahead.”
Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean told CNN that President Trump “has got a real problem” after the latest revelations regarding White House counsel Don McGahn’s interviews with special counsel investigators.
Said Dean: “I think that’s a lot of testimony, that’s a lot of visiting, and that’s just the bottom of what they know. It could well have been much more than that. It appears to have been ongoing. So, I think Trump has got a real problem here. And I’m not sure how he’s going to handle it.”
White House counsel Donald McGahn’s attorney, Bill Burck, told President Trump’s lawyers this weekend that McGahn did not assert that Trump engaged in any wrongdoing when he spoke to Mueller’s investigators in three lengthy interviews since last November, the Washington Post reports.
Said Burck: “He did not incriminate him.”
“Burck has assured Trump’s lawyers that McGahn did not witness Trump engaged in any crime and would have resigned from his White House post if he had.”
“White House counsel Don McGahn’s 30 hours of conversations with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has unnerved President Trump, who didn’t know the full extent of McGahn’s discussions,” CNN reports.
“Trump was spending another weekend at his New Jersey golf club when The New York Times first reported McGahn’s cooperation with Mueller’s office… The President was unsettled by the notion that he didn’t know everything McGahn said to the special counsel during their interviews, the sources said. And while he had approved the cooperation, Trump did not know the conversations stretched for 30 hours or that his legal team didn’t conduct a full debriefing with McGahn after the fact.”
White House counsel Donald McGahn “has cooperated extensively in the special counsel investigation, sharing detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether President Trump obstructed justice, including some that investigators would not have learned of otherwise,” the New York Times reports.
“In at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months, Mr. McGahn described the president’s furor toward the Russia investigation and the ways in which he urged Mr. McGahn to respond to it.”
“For a lawyer to share so much with investigators scrutinizing his client is unusual. Lawyers are rarely so open with investigators, not only because they are advocating on behalf of their clients but also because their conversations with clients are potentially shielded by attorney-client privilege, and in the case of presidents, executive privilege.”
Also interesting: “Mr. McGahn and his lawyer, William Burck, could not understand why Mr. Trump was so willing to allow Mr. McGahn to speak freely to the special counsel and feared Mr. Trump was setting up Mr. McGahn to take the blame for any possible illegal acts of obstruction.”