Sunday, May 12, 2019

McGahn Refused Request By White House To Say That Trump Did Not Obstruct Justice After Mueller Report's Release

How bad is this?
I have little sense of such things anymore.
I've more and more come to realize that I often just don't know enough to know how bad things are in politics and policy. For one thing, I don't know what standard practice is like. Anyway, the steady drumbeat of anti-Trump stories just makes it all worse--especially given that so much of it is obvious bullshit, and so much of the rest turns out to be bullshit in due course.
Honestly, this just doesn't sound bad to me:
   President Trump sought to have former White House counsel Donald McGahn issue a public statement last month that he did not believe the president had engaged in criminal conduct when he sought to exert control over the Russia investigation — a request McGahn declined, according to people familiar with the episode.
   McGahn had told the special counsel’s office that he did not think Trump’s actions rose to the level of obstruction of justice, two people familiar with his interviews said.
   But Mueller’s report concluded that there was substantial evidence the president had engaged in obstruction of justice when he pushed McGahn to help oust special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. McGahn’s view was not disclosed in the report.
   As Trump’s attorneys prepared for the public release of Mueller’s report last month, the White House sought for McGahn to issue a statement making public what he had told Mueller’s team, according to people familiar with the discussions, who, like others commenting for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity.
   Emmet Flood, a White House lawyer handling the response to the Mueller investigation, contacted McGahn lawyer William Burck on Trump’s behalf, asking him to consider a statement when the report was released, they said.
   But Burck declined on McGahn’s behalf, the people said, because Attorney General William P. Barr had already concluded there was insufficient evidence to accuse the president of criminal obstruction. Burck also concluded that there was no reason for McGahn as a witness to weigh in.
   In a statement Friday night, Burck declined to elaborate on his discussions with Flood but said the request from the White House was not improper.
   “We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister,” Burck said. “It was a request, professionally and cordially made.”
Whether Trump tried to get Mueller fired is a different matter, yes?


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