Trump fears a Mueller interview could bring perjury charge

Drew Angerer  Getty Images North America

Drew Angerer Getty Images North America

The president commented in response to the New York Times report that Trump's White House lawyer Don McGahn met with Mueller for over 30 hours during the course of the investigation, giving him more details about the president's actions than necessary.

Trump's latest rant follows a New York Times report that the White House general counsel, Don McGahn, has been cooperating extensively with the special counsel team investigating Russian election meddling and potential collusion with Trump's Republican campaign.

In 2016, USA intelligence agencies concluded that Russian Federation had used a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media in an attempt to turn the election against Mrs Clinton.

"It is not clear that Mr. Trump appreciates the extent to which Mr. McGahn has cooperated with the special counsel", Times reporters added.

In a series of early morning tweets, Trump said White House counsel Don McGahn and other aides had been encouraged to be fully transparent in their testimony to Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of an effort to bring the Russian Federation matter to a quick close. McGahn, according to the Times story, has voluntarily provided Mueller's team a wealth of information about Trump's behavior, beyond what might be expected from someone in his position. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith joins us now to explain all of this.

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James Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, may say something else. The President's lawyers told the Times on Sunday that they believed that McGahn's almost 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel had not included any testimony harmful to the President.

Another source close to McGahn disputed any implication that he was doing anything but following the requests of Trump's legal team. Mr Trump tweeted, referring to the indiscriminate and damaging allegations made by senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s to expose communists.

"I'm totally allowed to be involved if I wanted to be". In the string of tweets on Sunday morning, Trump claimed he allowed McGahn and others to testify, stating that he "didn't have to [let them]".

A year later, Trump acknowledged the true intent of the meeting: It wasn't about adoptions, as the Trumps originally said.

Trump compared Mueller's investigation to the tactics employed by the late senator Joseph McCarthy, who alleged that Communist agents and Soviet spies had infiltrated the USA government, accusing some of treason without evidence.

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As Trump has attempted to discredit Mueller, however, a CNN poll released last week found that public approval for the special counsel is on the upswing.

McGahn initially began working with Mueller's team at the behest of Trump's original team of lawyers, the Times reported.

This isn't the first controversy to erupt between Trump and his top White House lawyer.

The President's advisers are now concerned McGahn's statements to the special counsel could be key to filling in some blanks of Mueller's report, two people familiar with the discussion told the Times. "I can go in and I whatever, I could run it if I want", Trump said to Reuters.

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