Trump Fears Mueller May Use Interview to Charge Him with Perjury

Glen Norman
August 24, 2018

"The failing [New York Times] wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel [sic] Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel [sic], he must be a John Dean type 'RAT.' But I allowed him and all others to testify - I didn't have to", Trump wrote.

In tweets over the weekend in response to a New York Times report, Trump says he let his White House lawyer, Donald McGahn, speak openly and honestly with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III for some 30 hours about Trump because he has nothing to hide.

Also on Saturday, Mr. Trump tweeted that he had encouraged Mr. McGahn and White House staff to cooperate with investigators. In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents. Trump said "disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller" spent more than 30 hours with McGahn "only with my approval, for purposes of transparency".

Since a year ago, investigators in Congress probing allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation have unearthed voluminous evidence that a small group of senior officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department colluded to investigate the Trump campaign.

The newspaper said Mr. McGahn was also centrally involved in Mr. Trump's attempts to fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller, which investigators might not have discovered without him.

The Times report cited a dozen unnamed current and former White House officials and "others briefed on the matter".

"And the Times reports that Mr. McGahn's attorney, William Burck, said on the record that Mr. McGahn cooperated only after Mr. Trump waived any privilege claim".

Trump then went on to dub Mueller's obstruction of justice investigation as "McCarthyism at its WORST", referring to tactics used by late Senator Joseph McCarthy.

But there is some dispute about how much detail Trump's lawyers have about what McGahn told Mueller. McGahn and his attorney came up with a strategy to cooperate extensively with the Mueller investigation in order to prove that there was no wrongdoing on his part.

"The meeting was originally for the objective of getting information about Clinton", he said, adding that the Trump team did not know that Natalia Veselnitskaya was Russian - even though emails later released by Trump Jr. show that she had been described as a "Russian government attorney".

"The reaction would be the same as if Trump fired Mueller because Mueller would no longer be able to read the files that his team has been developing", Alexander Vershbow, a former US ambassador to South Korea and a member of President Bill Clinton's National Security Council, told the New York Daily News. However, an impeachment based on actions Trump didn't take - getting Sessions or a replacement to oversee the Mueller investigation and/or firing Mueller - would be an absurdity.

The President echoed the concerns of his top lawyer in the probe, Rudy Giuliani, who has warned that any sit-down with Mueller could be a "perjury trap".

Trump's outside legal counsel, Rudy Giuliani, said McGahn's cooperation would help bolster Trump's claims that he did nothing wrong.

Jens David Ohlin, a professor of criminal law at Cornell University, said that even if McGahn told investigators he thought Trump acted lawfully his testimony would still be pivotal.

"Truth is truth", Todd said.

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