Trump Asked McGahn, Priebus About Interviews With Mueller
10 March, 2018, 03:07 | Author: Angel Logan
Trump reportedly told White House counsel Don McGahn if he would issue a statement denying a previous Times report that said McGahn told Mueller's team that the president once asked him to fire Mueller.
In another encounter, Trump reportedly grilled his former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus about how his interview with the Mueller team went and asked Priebus if the investigators had been "nice" to him, two people familiar with the conversation told the Times.
One idea his lawyers may float would call for Mueller to end the Trump probe by 60 days from the date the interview takes place, the source said.
It doesn't seem like either interaction qualifies as witness tampering, but the Times points out the conversations could give Mueller more ammunition in a potential obstruction of justice case.
"Telling McGahn to lie to the public about [Trump's] order to fire Mueller is not a crime, but it shows that Trump was concerned about the truth coming out and/or that he had a guilty conscience", wrote former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.
The president's attorneys also anticipate an interview with special counsel would largely remain focused on the controversial firings of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey and one-time national security advisor Michael Flynn. Trump would later deny that McGahn told him he would leave over the request, but McGahn did say that to other senior White House officials.
Questions in an interview between Mueller and Trump are likely to focus on Comey's firing last May since it was that decision which lead to the formation of special counsel and then Mueller's appointment.
If the probe is nowhere near done, there's even a question of why Trump's attorneys should wrestle with the issue of presidential testimony now if it's a premature discussion. "Mueller could argue that this suggests Trump has something to hide, which could explain why he fired Comey".
Both Priebus and McGahn declined to comment to the Times through their attorney, William Burck. Lawyers for the president have not responded to ABC News.
The president, who has publicly and repeatedly denied any collusion took place between his campaign and Russian Federation to win the 2016 election, has reportedly pressured his attorneys to bring an end to Mueller's investigation.
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