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Trump Asked, Twice. McGahn Said No Way

The former White House counsel angered the president
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2019 6:00 PM CDT
In this Sept. 27, 2018, file photo, White House counsel Don McGahn listens as Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP, File)

(Newser) – Don McGahn just can't seem to shake his old boss. President Trump has twice asked the former White House counsel to deny that he thought Trump obstructed justice with the Mueller probe—and McGahn refused both times, insiders say. The White House first asked him after reading a pre-release of the Mueller report, per the New York Times. Mueller had left out McGahn's professed belief the president hadn't obstructed justice, and Trump's lawyers wanted him to say so. McGahn apparently mulled. "We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister," says McGahn's lawyer in a statement. "It was a request, professionally and cordially made."

McGahn's refusal angered Trump, who already considered McGahn disloyal for telling Mueller's team that Trump had asked him to dismiss Mueller in 2017. Then after the report came out, the White House asked McGahn to deny that Trump's request amounted to obstruction, and say that another Trump effort—to have McGahn deny the request ever happened—wasn't obstruction either, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. But McGahn kept his own counsel and said nothing. On another front, he's now refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee. (By one account, McGahn saved Trump's presidency.)

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