The White House has asked former presidential adviser Don McGahn to publicly declare that Donald Trump did not attempt to obstruct justice in the investigation into Russian interference in the campaign presidential election, reports the New York Times on Saturday citing two sources familiar with the issue.
These requests have been relayed at least twice, the newspaper continues.
First, before the release of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report, but at a time when White House lawyers already had it. Then after the publication of a redacted version of the 448 pages covering almost two years of investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
McGahn, the New York Times adds, refused to run.
These episodes, writes the New York Times, show how much the White House has been pushing back the idea that Donald Trump was able to impede Mueller’s investigation.
In his report, the special prosecutor does not conclude that Trump was guilty of obstructing the course of justice but does not exonerate him further and lists a dozen cases that seem to show that the President has tried to curb the “Russian investigation”.
The Mueller report includes how, in June 2017, a month after the appointment of the special prosecutor, the president instructed McGahn, who was then legal counsel for the presidency, to declare that there were conflicts of interest around Robert Mueller and recommend that he be sacked.
Trump has formally denied this passage. “Contrary to what the fake news experts said, I never asked White House advisor Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I was allowed to. Mueller, I would not have asked McGahn, to do it, I could have done it myself, “wrote the president on Twitter in late April.
Democratic House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has summoned McGahn to appear, but Trump seems reluctant to allow his hearing. “He has already testified for 30 hours,” he told Trump last week on Fox New. “I would say it’s done.”
McGahn left last October as White House legal advisor.