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NYT: WH counsel cooperating with Mueller probe

White House counsel Donald McGahn has voluntarily participated in multiple interviews during the last nine months with investigators from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, the New York Times reported.

Posted: Aug 20, 2018 5:53 AM
Updated: Aug 20, 2018 6:14 AM

White House counsel Don McGahn's attorney did not give President Donald Trump's lawyers a full accounting of McGahn's interviews with the special counsel's team, a person familiar with the matter tells CNN.

Trump's attorneys did not ask for a complete debriefing, the person said.

During his three interviews with special counsel Robert Mueller's team, McGahn did not provide information that would be incriminating to the President, a source told CNN.

The New York Times first reported Sunday that Trump's legal team does not know the extent to which McGahn has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. The news follows a Saturday report by the Times that McGahn had been cooperating with Mueller extensively. The President's lawyers told the Times on Sunday that they believed that McGahn's nearly 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel had not included any testimony harmful to the President.

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.

According to the Times' Saturday report, McGahn's decision to cooperate was partly due to the fact that the President's initial legal team had decided to fully cooperate with Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, believing their client had nothing to hide and that they could bring a quick end to the probe.

McGahn and his attorney, William Burck, became concerned that the President planned to set him up to be held responsible for any potential illegal incidents of obstruction, the Times reported, so the White House counsel and his attorney came up with a strategy to cooperate as extensively as possible with the special counsel in order to prove that there was no wrongdoing by McGahn, the newspaper reported.

When contacted by CNN, Burck declined to comment on the Times' report on Sunday. Burck said in a statement Saturday, "President Trump, through counsel, declined to assert any privilege over Mr. McGahn's testimony, so Mr. McGahn answered the Special Counsel team's questions fulsomely and honestly, as any person interviewed by federal investigators must."

Trump's former lead personal attorney, John Dowd, who supported the idea of White House officials cooperating with the Mueller probe, told CNN on Sunday that McGahn "was a strong witness for the President's case. The strategy is working. Ask Rudy," a reference to Trump's current lead lawyer in the special counsel investigation, Rudy Giuliani.

"We protected [the President] by not asserting attorney-client privilege," Dowd added, saying that if Trump's legal team had not allowed for White House officials like McGahn to undergo voluntary interviews with Mueller's team, then they would have been called to testify before a grand jury."

Giuliani said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning that he had not debriefed McGahn, but nevertheless the legal team had "a good sense" of what McGahn told Mueller's team through Dowd.

"Dowd has a good sense of it, he talked to them at the time," Giuliani replied, later adding, "I think that through, through John Dowd, we have a pretty good sense of it."

"John Dowd yesterday said -- I'll use his words rather than mine -- that McGahn was a strong witness for the President, so I don't need to know much more about that," Giuliani said.

People familiar with Trump's thinking told the Times that his realization that he was unaware of what McGahn shared with Mueller's team shook the President, who is said to be obsessed with the informant role that John W. Dean, then the White House counsel to President Richard Nixon and now a CNN contributor, played during Watergate.

On Sunday morning, Trump referenced Dean in a Twitter post lashing out at the Times' report a day earlier, calling it "a Fake piece" that implied "because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type 'RAT. But I allowed him and all others to testify - I didn't have to."

Dean fired back, "@realDonaldTrump (I still have trouble using the title Mr. President for someone installed by Putin), I doubt you have ANY IDEA what McGahn has told Mueller. Also, Nixon knew I was meeting with prosecutors, b/c I told him. However, he didn't think I would tell them the truth!"

Politico reported Sunday that Dean has met several times over the past few months with Lanny Davis, the attorney representing former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who is under criminal investigation in New York because of his business dealings.

"I reached out to my old friend John Dean because of what he went through with Watergate, and I saw some parallels to what Michael Cohen is experiencing," Davis told Politico. "I wanted to gain from John's wisdom."

Davis added that he had asked Dean for a retelling of his experiences during the Nixon investigation, not for legal counsel on Cohen's case.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1130719

Reported Deaths: 17736
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1468762242
Lake732391255
Allen68004883
Hamilton51739488
St. Joseph50459650
Elkhart40619547
Vanderburgh34963497
Tippecanoe31212276
Johnson27963467
Hendricks26585385
Porter25969387
Madison21318457
Clark20392279
Vigo19244309
LaPorte17405261
Delaware17004303
Howard16942315
Monroe16794220
Kosciusko14447167
Hancock13259186
Bartholomew13180191
Warrick12320190
Wayne12200269
Grant12181247
Floyd12096226
Morgan10552192
Boone9966124
Noble9429123
Marshall9295147
Henry9268169
Dearborn9053100
Dubois8877140
Shelby8402130
Cass8241128
Lawrence8134185
DeKalb7933109
Jackson779993
Huntington7761116
Montgomery7213123
Gibson7179118
Harrison7031100
Knox6958116
Steuben676589
Miami6675114
Whitley667260
Putnam651286
Clinton633179
Wabash6323111
Jasper622192
Jefferson5946105
Ripley565994
Adams547981
Daviess5124118
Scott498980
Wells4894106
White486069
Greene4749101
Clay468662
Decatur4659110
Fayette462597
Jennings457167
LaGrange432291
Posey412944
Randolph4010107
Washington393656
Fountain382264
Fulton368374
Spencer365147
Starke361474
Owen358577
Sullivan351155
Jay336450
Orange335272
Rush314833
Carroll301639
Franklin295244
Perry292853
Vermillion285958
Tipton253367
Parke251630
Pike251244
Blackford224944
Pulaski213759
Newton185052
Brown179750
Benton171717
Crawford170729
Martin152619
Switzerland149412
Warren137816
Union125116
Ohio92913
Unassigned0599

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1735925

Reported Deaths: 26851
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1807941843
Cuyahoga1705042655
Hamilton1146441544
Montgomery811601405
Summit728891210
Lucas637861027
Butler57319814
Stark544971183
Lorain42941645
Warren36238417
Mahoning36168788
Lake32818501
Clermont31601369
Trumbull27766620
Delaware27462185
Licking26929344
Medina26408353
Fairfield24875287
Greene24585373
Clark22391390
Portage21591283
Richland21339342
Wood20348248
Allen19172326
Miami17486352
Columbiana17078335
Muskingum16882207
Wayne15914307
Tuscarawas14631362
Marion13477196
Ashtabula12980237
Erie12832199
Scioto12586188
Pickaway12326155
Ross11824226
Hancock11659175
Geauga11090179
Lawrence10729172
Belmont10548234
Huron9891159
Jefferson9724228
Union966575
Sandusky9465166
Seneca9020161
Knox8893176
Washington8738159
Darke8446181
Athens842897
Ashland8130152
Auglaize8042120
Shelby7575135
Defiance7431117
Crawford7376150
Fulton7284113
Brown7225116
Logan7087111
Guernsey701786
Mercer6964100
Highland6822120
Clinton6554106
Williams655299
Madison653990
Preble6343140
Putnam6300122
Jackson586597
Champaign586187
Perry571279
Coshocton5700108
Ottawa5696102
Morrow524665
Fayette499072
Hardin4960100
Gallia475878
Van Wert470895
Pike468478
Adams4638110
Henry440380
Hocking414293
Holmes4044141
Wyandot379975
Carroll373678
Paulding327551
Meigs307961
Monroe237261
Noble221949
Morgan219439
Harrison216953
Vinton189738
Unassigned06
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After a cold start to the week, warmer air begins to filter back into the region Wednesday.
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