Washington: US President Donald Trump is defending himself and the White House from the ongoing Russia probe, saying he has “nothing to hide” amid reports that White House Counsel Don McGahn is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump, in a series of tweets, denounced the New York Times for a Saturday story saying White House Counsel Don McGahn has cooperated extensively with the special counsel, Robert Mueller.
McGahn had shared detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.
“I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to,” Trump said in a tweet. Trump said the newspaper made it seem like McGahn had turned on the president – as White House counsel John Dean had in the Watergate investigation of former president Richard Nixon – “when in fact it is just the opposite.”
I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel. In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents. Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018
Citing a dozen current and former White House officials and others briefed on the matter, the Times said Saturday that McGahn had shared information, some of which the investigators would not have known about.
The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type “RAT.” But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2018
On Saturday evening, McGahn’s lawyer confirmed the White House counsel had cooperated with Mueller’s team. “Mr. McGahn answered the Special Counsel team’s questions fulsomely and honestly,” William Burck said, explaining the president did not ask McGahn to refrain from discussing any matters.
Also on Saturday, Trump tweeted that he had encouraged McGahn and White House staff to cooperate with investigators.
According to the New York Times, McGahn in at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months, described Trump’s furor toward the Russia investigation and the ways in which the president urged McGahn to respond to it.
The newspaper reported McGahn’s motivation to speak with the special counsel as an unusual move that was in response to a decision by Trump’s first team of lawyers to cooperate fully. But it said another motivation was McGahn’s fear he could be placed in legal jeopardy because of decisions made in the White House that could be construed as obstruction of justice.
The newspaper said McGahn was also centrally involved in Trump’s attempts to fire the special counsel, which investigators might not have discovered without him.