A day after Rudy Giuliani disdainfully attacked the credibility of former White House counsel Don McGahn, his attorney slammed back that everything attributed to McGahn in the report by special counsel Robert Mueller was accurately recounted.
McGahn’s lawyer William Burck said in a statement that it’s a “mystery why Rudy Giuliani feels the need to re-litigate incidents the attorney general and deputy attorney general have concluded were not obstruction. But they are accurately described” in the Mueller report, he added. Burck also politely noted that McGahn “appreciates” the opportunity to serve as White House counsel.
Giuliani’s attack on McGahn isn’t such a mystery. Though President Donald Trump has been celebrating the Mueller report and the fact that he’s not facing any indictments, he’s reportedly furious about White House staff members who talked to Mueller and made him look bad — like McGahn.
McGahn, who talked to investigators about Trump for several hours, figures prominently in the Mueller report.
The Mueller report detailed 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice by the president. But the report also noted that Trump’s efforts to derail the investigation were mostly unsuccessful because people like McGahn refused to carry out orders they considered inappropriate or illegal. McGahn, for example, told investigators he refused to follow Trump’s directive to have Mueller fired. He told Reince Priebus, then chief of staff, that Trump had “asked him to ‘do crazy shit,’” the report stated.
Trump later tried to convince McGahn to lie about his directive to fire Mueller, according to the report.
Trump on Friday tweeted that some statements about him featured in the Mueller report are “total bullshit.” He referred to the findings as “The Crazy Mueller Report.”
In a dig referring to McGahn, Trump warned about “people that take so-called ‘notes,’” arguing that parts of the report based on notes by aides and officials weren’t legitimate. He claimed “the notes never existed until needed,” indicating they were concocted.
In an interview with The New York Times published Friday, Giuliani, as Trump’s personal attorney, said that details from the Mueller report’s details about McGahn’s accounts of his interactions with Trump “can’t be taken at face value.” He added: “It could be the product of an inaccurate recollection or could be the product of something else.”
He also wondered in an interview with The Washington Post why McGahn stayed in his job if he thought that Trump was trying to break the law. In fact, McGahn eventually quit.
At an off-the-record lunch earlier this month with Republicans, McGahn told participants that they may “soon read about” his confrontations with Trump, Axios reported. He also told them he was astounded at what Trump could get away with.