In an interview with ABC, President Donald Trump accused former White House counsel Don McGahn of lying under oath when he told Robert Mueller that the president directed him to fire the special counsel.
"The story on that very simply, No. 1, I was never going to fire Mueller," Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview recorded Tuesday and released Friday morning. "I never suggested firing Mueller.”
When it was pointed out that McGahn had given testimony to the contrary, Trump said: “I don’t care what [McGahn] said, it doesn’t matter.”
Trump claims his former counsel “may have been confused” when he told Mueller that the president directed him multiple times to instruct acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller.
McGahn, who left the White House last fall, gave 30 hours of testimony to Mueller’s team, in which he claimed Trump issued those directions days after it emerged in the media that Mueller was focusing on Trump’s possible obstruction of justice.
McGahn is one of the most-quoted sources in the portion of the report that addresses possible obstruction of justice.
When asked why McGahn would lie under oath, Trump said it was because “he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer.”
“Or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen — including you, including the media — that Robert Mueller was conflicted. Robert Mueller had a total conflict of interest.”
Trump’s claim comes at the same time that the White House, citing executive privilege, is attempting to prevent McGahn from giving evidence to the House Judiciary Committee, which is seeking clarity about the conversations McGahn says he had with Trump about firing Mueller.
The House voted earlier this week to allow the Committee to seek court approval to enforce the subpoenas against McGahn as well as Attorney General William Barr.
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks during a second chance hiring and criminal justice reform event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 13, 2019. (Photo by Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA)(Sipa via AP Images)