The White House asked for that former White House counsel Don McGahn publicly state that President Donald Trump did not obstruct justice, but McGahn declined, an administration official told CNN on Friday.
The timing of the White House’s request — which was made to McGahn’s attorney William Burck through top White House lawyer Emmet Flood, according to the official — is unclear.
The official and a separate source familiar with the matter said that McGahn previously told special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators he didn’t believe Trump obstructed justice.
The episode speaks to the White House’s efforts to portray the President as absolved by the redacted Mueller report since its release last month. The Wall Street Journal first reported the White House’s appeal to McGahn.
A source familiar with Flood’s call to Burck conveying the ask for said Trump was upset simply by McGahn’s refusal to convey publicly that the President didn’t obstruct justice.
The separate source acquainted with the issue said the problem was moot as soon as Trump directed a tweet at McGahn your day following the Mueller report premiered. The President tweeted a caution that day time against “individuals who take so-known as ‘notes,’ ” echoing his criticism of McGahn when planning on taking notes, that was referenced in the Mueller review.
The foundation added that McGahn and his attorney didn’t feel that this type of public statement was required because Attorney General Expenses Barr had already turned out and said Trump didn’t obstruct justice.
Flood’s ask for to McGahn had not been the initial overture by the management in search of such a declaration, according to The NY Times. The White House very first attained out to Burck after Trump’s attorneys reviewed the Mueller review before its public release and realized that McGahn’s testimony to investigators that he didn’t believe Trump obstructed justice did not appear in the report, the paper reported.
Administration officials thought that having McGahn make such a statement publicly would assuage Trump and buttress the White House’s narrative combating the Mueller report’s assessment of specific instances of potential obstruction; a person briefed on the White House’s requests to McGahn told the Times.
Barr told Congress before the report’s release that Mueller did not conclude whether Trump obstructed justice and that Barr and Rosenstein had concluded that “the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
In the redacted statement released later, Mueller indicated that the investigation into possible obstruction of justice could not clear Trump. The White House complained to Barr that Mueller should have decided on whether Trump obstructed justice.