This Man May Have Saved Trump's Presidency

Chris Cillizza: White House counsel Don McGahn's refusal to fire Mueller is critical
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2019 1:09 PM CDT
In this 2018 file photo, then-White House counsel Don McGahn listens as Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.   (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – Former White House counsel Don McGahn sat for more than 30 hours of interviews with Robert Mueller's team and shows up on a whopping 66 pages of the 448-page Mueller report, notes Axios. President Trump is apparently none too pleased, based on a series of critical tweets that appear to be referring to McGahn without naming him, reports Business Insider. One example: "Watch out for people that take so-called 'notes,' when the notes never existed until needed," tweeted Trump. McGahn's note-taking—and Trump's disdain for the practice—were mentioned in the report. In a provocative analysis, however, Chris Cillizza at CNN writes that instead of being angry at McGahn, Trump should be thanking him. McGahn, he writes, "very well may have saved Trump's presidency."

The reason: The Mueller report states that Trump directed McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, but McGahn refused to do so, "deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre." The report also states that Trump ordered McGahn to deny media reports about his order to fire Mueller, and, again, McGahn refused to do so. If McGahn had indeed fired Mueller, it's a safe bet that Democrats would already be pursuing impeachment, writes Cillizza. "It's not clear to me that Senate Republicans would have, ultimately, gone along with the impeachment but it would have had a hell of a lot better chance than it does right now." Trump, he concludes, is lucky McGahn refused to follow orders. (Sarah Sanders is now in a related controversy.)

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