By Jan Wolfe
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former White House attorney Don McGahn told congressional investigators he was “disturbed” by Donald Trump’s efforts to close the US special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, according to a transcript released Wednesday.
McGahn testified during a closed-door interview on June 4 https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/former-counsel-tells-congress-trump-efforts-undercut-russia-probe-democrats-2021-06- 04 who felt “trapped” after a phone call in June 2017 in which the then-president asked him to pressure a Justice Department official to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
“After talking to the president on the phone, how did I feel? Ugh. Frustrated, disturbed, trapped,” McGahn told House investigators. “Many emotions”. The transcript was released by the House Judiciary Committee.
McGahn’s testimony last week marked the end of a two-year legal standoff between the House https://www.reuters.com/world/us/ex-white-house-lawyer-mcgahn-agrees-us-house- interview-panel – president-2021-05-13 and the Department of Justice on whether executive branch officials can be compelled to testify before Congress.
The testimony did not provide new revelations about Trump’s efforts to stop the Mueller investigation. An agreement between the House attorneys and the Justice Department stipulated that McGahn’s deposition would be limited to the publicly available information contained in Mueller’s report.
McGahn, who left office in late 2018, was a key witness in Mueller’s report on Russian interference in 2016 that saw Republican Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
McGahn told Mueller’s team that Trump repeatedly ordered him to remove the special counsel and then told him to deny receiving that instruction when word of the action surfaced in news reports. McGahn did not carry out any of the instructions.
After sitting down for interviews with Mueller’s team, McGahn in May 2019 refused to testify before a congressional panel investigating Trump’s conduct.
At the time, the Justice Department had advised McGahn to challenge the subpoena, one of several denials by the Trump administration as it sought to block congressional investigations into his conduct.
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