President Donald Trump disputed the testimony his former White House counsel Don McGahn gave to Robert Mueller and claimed he was never going to fire the special counsel.
‘I was never going to fire Mueller. I never suggested firing Mueller,’ Trump told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ in an interview that aired Friday.
He also said it didn’t matter what McGahn told the special counsel in his testimony.
‘I don’t care what he says, it doesn’t matter,’ Trump said.
The president rebut to his former counselor comes as Democrats seek to hear from McGahn about his time in the Trump White House.
President Donald Trump disputed the testimony his former White House counsel Don McGahn
Former White House Counsel Don McGahn claimed Trump ordered him to fire Mueller
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos pressed him on McGahn’s testimony.
‘Why would he lie under oath?’ he asked.
‘Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer,’ Trump replied. ‘Or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen – including you, including the media – that Robert Mueller was conflicted. Robert Mueller had a total conflict of interest.’
‘And has to go?’ Stephanopoulos asked.
‘I didn’t say that,’ Trump replied.
In his testimony to Mueller, McGahn recounted how he believed Trump ordered him to fire the special counsel, which McGahn refused to do.
McGahn testified that Trump called him at home on a Saturday in June 2017 and instructed him to tell then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that Mueller — who had only been appointed a month earlier — had a conflict of interest and had to be fired.
He decided to quit instead of following Trump’s demand. He called his lawyer and told his chief of staff Annie Donaldson that he would resign before driving to his office to pack his belongings and submit his resignation letter.
He called then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Trump strategist Steve Bannon to tell them of his decision.
‘Priebus recalled that McGahn said that the President had asked him to “do crazy s**t,” but he thought McGahn did not tell him the specifics of the President’ s request because McGahn was trying to protect Priebus from what he did not need to know,’ Mueller wrote in his report.
Both Priebus and Bannon urged him not to resign and, in the end, McGahn decided to stay on.
‘McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre,’ referring to the slew of resignations that occurred after President Nixon tried to fire special counsel Archibald Cox in 1973,’ wrote Mueller.
The former White House counsel gave 30 hours of testimony over 9 months to Mueller.
In his testimony, he also discussed the firing of then-FBI director James Comey and the president’s anger at then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing Mueller.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn to discuss his testimony in the Mueller report.
McGahn refused to comply at the White House’s request and the matter is headed to the courts.
Trump told ABC News he never ordered Mueller fired
Special Counsel Robert Mueller recounted the incident in his report
McGahn left the White House in August 2018 when Trump announced his departure via Twitter – without talking to McGahn about it first.
The two men’s relationship had grown distance amid reports of McGahn’s cooperation with Mueller.
McGahn left after helping shepard Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination through the Senate.
As Stephanopoulos pressed the president on those details of Mueller’s report and why he didn’t testify to the special counsel, Trump grew snappy with him.
‘George, you’re being a little wise guy, OK – which is, you know, typical for you,’ Trump told ABC News.
‘Just so you understand. Very simple. It’s very simple. There was no crime. There was no collusion. The big thing’s collusion. Now, there’s no collusion. That means they set — it was a setup, in my opinion, and I think it’s going to come out.’