After his testimony in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation revealed some of the most serious instances of presidential obstruction of justice, former White House Counsel Don McGahn is being attacked by Trump allies for failing to lie on the president’s behalf while under oath, the least we could expect from someone hoping to retain their license to practice law.
Having admitted that Trump had ordered him to fire Mueller relatively early in the probe and that he had refused and threatened to quit rather than do something damaging to Trump’s own self-interest and potentially illegal to boot, McGahn was targeted by the president’s TV mouthpiece/attorney and Nosferatu impersonator Rudy Giuliani for an attack on his credibility.
Giuliani made the media rounds yesterday with the daggers out for the former top lawyer for the executive branch.
“If McGahn thought any of those things were crimes, why did he stay there?” Giuliani asked rhetorically in an interview with The Washington Post. “They’re trying to make it out as if there’s something illegal about what happened with McGahn. The guy is a very good lawyer.”
The attempt by Giuliani to spin Trump’s attempts to get McGahn to claim that the president had never asked for his White House Counsel to deny that he had asked him to fire Mueller meant that he was forced to essentially label the long-time conservative lawyer and Federalist Society member as an untrustworthy source.
“It can’t be taken at face value,” Giuliani told The New York Times. “It could be the product of an inaccurate recollection or could be the product of something else.”
Giuliani’s pitiful attacks on McGahn and the legitimacy of the Mueller Investigation earned a hearty rebuke from the former White House Counsel through his attorney, William Burck.
“It’s a mystery why Rudy Giuliani feels the need to re-litigate incidents the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General have concluded were not obstruction. But they are accurately described in the report,” McGahn’s attorney told The Hill.
“Don, nonetheless, appreciates that the President gave him the opportunity to serve as White House Counsel and assist him with his signature accomplishments,” Burke diplomatically said of his client.
While McGahn may have appreciated the opportunity to serve, he most certainly did not appreciate being asked to lie under oath on Trump’s behalf.
“Each time he was approached, McGahn responded that he would not refute the press accounts because they were accurate in reporting on the President’s efforts to have the Special Counsel removed,” the Mueller report states.
Trump’s continued flouting of the rule of law and constitutional norms may have been judged by his hand-picked Attorney General as not indictable under Justice Department policies prohibiting the prosecution of a sitting president, but the obvious criminality of his obstruction attempts raises the pressure on Congressional Democrats to put up or shut up in terms of beginning impeachment proceedings.
While the timing of the impeachment may be up for debate from a political perspective, the inevitability and necessity of holding Trump accountable for his criminal obstruction are certain unless Congress abandons all pretense of attempting to defend our democratic processes.
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Original reporting by Tal Axelrod at The Hill.