The New York Times is reporting that Don McGahn, Donald Trump’s first White House counsel, was asked by Trump administration officials on two separate occasions to publicly say he didn’t believe Trump obstructed the Mueller investigation.
Mr. Trump asked White House officials to make the request to Mr. McGahn, who was the president’s first White House counsel, one of the people said. Mr. McGahn declined. His reluctance angered the president, who believed that Mr. McGahn showed disloyalty by telling investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, about Mr. Trump’s attempts to maintain control over the Russia investigation.
The White House made one of the requests to Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, before the Mueller report was released publicly but after the Justice Department gave a copy to Mr. Trump’s lawyers in the preceding days. Reading the report, the president’s lawyers saw that Mr. Mueller left out that Mr. McGahn had told investigators that he believed the president never obstructed justice. Mr. Burck had told them months earlier about his client’s belief on the matter and that he had shared it with investigators.
Mr. McGahn initially entertained the White House request. “We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister,” Mr. Burck said in a statement. “It was a request, professionally and cordially made.”
A White House spokeswoman did not respond to a message seeking comment.
White House officials made a second request a few days after the release of the Mueller report. McGahn demurred again.
More from Trump World:
• Rudy Giuliani has called off his previously announced trip to Ukraine where he planned to encourage an investigation regarding former Vice President Joe Biden’s son. The move was seen as another attempt by the Trump campaign to seek help from a foreign country.
• The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard E. Neal, subpoenaed the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service for six years of Mr. Trump’s personal and business tax returns.
• Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are pursuing testimony from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but an official date has not been agreed to.