Don McGahn testified in Congress Friday after being cited two years ago.
The evocation of President Donald Trump’s White House president Don McGahn “It shed new light” on Russia’s role investigation in the 2016 U.S. election and the pressure the lawyer was under to obstruct the federal investigation, Congress Democrats said Friday.
McGahn, who served as Trump’s presidential attorney for nearly two years before resigning in October 2018, testified in a one-day closed-door session before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives .
McGahn appeared under a citation posted on two years ago to testify while the committee was studying Trump’s allegations of ill-treatment. In late 2019, the House voted to charge Trump with allegations of abuse of power and obstruction in Congress. He was acquitted by the Senate, then under Republican control.
The transcript of McGahn’s testimony is due to be made public in the coming days. According to an agreement with the Justice Department, members of the Judicial Committee refused to provide details of what he said earlier.
“Mr. McGahn was clearly distressed by President Trump’s refusal to follow his legal advice, over and over again, and shed new light on several troubling events today, ”committee chairman Jerrold Nadler said in a statement.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters McGahn’s testimony did not provide any new information.
“The expectation was that Don McGahn would be a kind of essential witness who would provide new information that deserves years of litigation and countless money spent by taxpayers,” Gaetz said of Democrats.
Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Democrat from the Judiciary Committee, told reporters that McGahn “brought to life the pressure she was under, the pressure other assistants of the president had to direct Rod Rosenstein to expel a special lawyer (Robert) Mueller.” .
At the time, Rosenstein was acting deputy attorney general and Mueller was investigating Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign.
After a lengthy investigation, Mueller found “numerous links” between the campaign and the Russians and concluded that the campaign “hoped it would benefit” from Moscow’s effort to tip the vote in favor of Trump. But Mueller said those interactions did not amount to criminal conduct or would be difficult to prove in court.
As a White House attorney, McGahn had a privileged view of many of the episodes Mueller and his team examined for possible obstructions to justice during Russia’s investigation.
McGahn proved to be a key and reprehensible witness against Trump, with his name mentioned hundreds of times in the text of the Mueller report and his footnotes.
McGahn described to investigators the president’s repeated efforts to suffocate the probe and the guidelines he said he received from the president that bothered him.
He reported that Trump had demanded that he contact then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to order him to withdraw from Russia’s investigation. McGahn also said Trump had implored him to tell the deputy attorney general at the time, Rod Rosenstein, to remove Mueller from his position because of perceived conflicts of interest, and after the episode was reported to the media, that he publicly and falsely denied that a claim had ever been made.
McGahn also described the circumstances that led to Trump’s dismissal of James Comey as FBI director, including the president’s insistence on including in the resolution letter the fact that Comey had assured Trump that he was not personally investigated.