House Judiciary releases McGahn testimony on Trump
By Rebecca Beitsch,Harper Neidig and Morgan Chalfant - 06/09/21 06:34 PM EDT
Former White House counsel Don McGahn confirmed to congressional investigators a key account in ex-special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that former President Trump directed him to try to get Mueller removed, according to a transcript of his closed-door testimony released Wednesday.
The 241-page transcript follows a long fought-for interview the House Judiciary Committee finally secured with McGahn on Friday after the Trump White House challenged a subpoena seeking his testimony during Trump’s first impeachment investigation. The transcript shows that the interview yielded little new information but confirmed some of the details of Mueller’s lengthy report on his 22-month investigation that concluded in March 2018 and with which McGahn cooperated.
Trump has persistently denied any effort to fire Mueller amid the long inquiry, which probed allegations that members of Trump’s team had colluded with Russian figures during his 2016 presidential campaign. Yet in Friday’s interview, McGahn directly disputed Trump’s claims, repeatedly laying out Trump’s consideration of firing Mueller.
“Well, you know, he certainly entertained the idea. Certainly seemed to ask a number of people about it. Certainly had a number of conversations with me about something along those lines,” McGahn told lawmakers.
“So, you know, it was disappointing that he’d come out and say, oh, it was never on the table when, certainly, at least the conflict of interest issue and whether that would preclude Mueller from being special counsel, certainly was discussed,” he added.
McGahn noted Trump’s frequent allegations that Mueller had conflicts of interest that should have disqualified him from the job, pointing to one phone call with Trump in particular.
“He wanted me to call [former Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein and inform Rod that he had conflicts. And, in the President's view, Mueller shouldn't be able to serve as special counsel because of these conflicts,” he said.