The House Judiciary Committee has released a full transcript of recent testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn, who served in the Trump administration and whose testimony the committee had been after for quite awhile. According to House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), “McGahn provided the Committee with substantial new information—including firsthand accounts of President Trump’s increasingly out of control behavior, and insight into concerns that the former President’s conduct could expose both Trump and McGahn to criminal liability.”
Judiciary Cmte: Trump directed McGahn to write a false statement—knowing that the statement was false, and knowing that carrying out this order might expose McGahn to criminal liability, including prosecution by the Special Counsel. https://t.co/ODuz0Kqmb7
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 9, 2021
Specifically, the former White House counsel’s testimony showcased to the committee — and now the public — how Trump “directed McGahn to write a false statement—knowing that the statement was false, and knowing that carrying out this order might expose McGahn to criminal liability, including prosecution by the Special Counsel,” as the committee summarizes. The statement that then-President Trump wanted McGahn to put out was a denial of allegations that Trump had tried to get McGahn to have then-deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein fire Robert Mueller from his post as special counsel. However, Trump did exactly that.
Trump’s knowledge that the statement he wanted McGahn to put out was false and his simultaneous knowledge that lying could expose McGahn to criminal proceedings suggests criminal intent to obstruct justice on the part of the then-president. Infamously, at the conclusion of his investigation, Mueller refused to conclusively state that Trump had obstructed justice — but Mueller also said that his final report did not “exonerate” the then-commander-in-chief, who nevertheless claimed “total exoneration,” buoyed by conclusions by Rosenstein and then-Attorney General Bill Barr not to further pursue the obstruction of justice matter.
Trump independently said while in office that he “never suggested firing Mueller,” but McGahn’s testimony reiterated that such a statement was false. As McGahn put it, discussing Mueller’s looming potential firing:
‘Well, you know, [Trump] certainly entertained the idea. Certainly seemed to ask a number of people about it. Certainly had a number of conversations with me about something along those lines. And, you know, I’ve learned other things in the report; apparently, that he had a conversation with Chris Christie on the same topic. So, you know, it was disappointing that he’d come out and say, oh, it was never on the table when, certainly, at least the conflict of interest issue and whether that would preclude Mueller from being special counsel, certainly was discussed.’
Check out more from McGahn’s testimony at this link.