Graham: ‘I don’t care’ what happened between Trump and McGahn

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said he doesn’t care if President Donald Trump told then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller — the Mueller investigation is over.

“It’s all theater — it doesn’t matter,” the South Carolina Republican told “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan. “I don’t care what he said to Don McGahn — it’s what he did. The president never obstructed.”

“It doesn’t matter to you that the president is changing a version of events and some would say lying?” Brennan asked.

In a redacted version of Mueller’s report, McGahn is reported to have said he refused to fire Mueller when ordered to do so by Trump. The president has denied he told anyone to fire McGahn, tweeting that if he had wanted to fire Mueller, he could have done it himself.

“If you’re going to look at every president who pops off at his staff, asks them to do something that is maybe crazy, then we won’t have any presidents,” Graham said, claiming he had “fought hard as hell” to make sure Mueller was able to carry out his investigation unobstructed.

Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he won’t call Mueller or McGahn to testify now.

“I don’t know how clear I can be, Margaret: It’s over for me,” Graham said, calling obstruction of justice “absurd.”

Shields and Brooks on Trump and foreign campaign help, Democratic debates

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including President Trump’s comments about willingness to accept foreign opposition research, the status of election security legislation, candidate lineups for the upcoming Democratic presidential debates and the politics of Democratic socialism.

 

 

Trump Tries To Clean Up Comments On Accepting Intel From Foreign Governments | Deadline | MSNBC

 

(12:18)
AND NBC’S PETER ALEXANDER ADDING THIS REPORTING TO OUR
ADDING THIS REPORTING TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THIS NOW WAR OF
UNDERSTANDING OF THIS NOW WAR OF WORDS TODAY BETWEEN DON McGHAN
WORDS TODAY BETWEEN DON McGHAN AND DONALD TRUMP.
AND DONALD TRUMP. PETER’S REPORTING THAT A PERSON
PETER’S REPORTING THAT A PERSON CLOSE TO FORMER WHITE HOUSE
CLOSE TO FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL DON McGHAN IS DISMISSING
COUNSEL DON McGHAN IS DISMISSING PRESIDENT TRUMP’S COMMENTS PRESIDENT TRUMP’S COMMENTS TO ABC NEWS WHERE HE DISPUTES McGAHN’S TESTIMONY SAYING,
QUOTE, IT’S NOT FANTASY LAND. SO WE HAVE FANTASY LAND, WE HAVE
SO WE HAVE FANTASY LAND, WE HAVE THE TOOTH FAIRY.
THE TOOTH FAIRY. McGAHN PUSHING BACK MORE THAN HE
McGAHN PUSHING BACK MORE THAN HE DID THE FIRST COUPLE ROUNDS OF
DID THE FIRST COUPLE ROUNDS OF SMEARS AGAINST McGAHN.
SMEARS AGAINST McGAHN. DO YOU THINK McGAHN IS SOMEONE
DO YOU THINK McGAHN IS SOMEONE WHO MIGHT EVENTUALLY GET
WHO MIGHT EVENTUALLY GET BATTERED ENOUGH TO TESTIFY?
BATTERED ENOUGH TO TESTIFY? >> I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE SENSE
>> I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE SENSE IN PUBLICLY ATTACKING DON
IN PUBLICLY ATTACKING DON McGHAN.
McGHAN. I — I CAN’T FATHOM IT.
I — I CAN’T FATHOM IT. I REALLY CAN’T FATHOM IT.
I REALLY CAN’T FATHOM IT. >> EXPLAIN THAT.
>> EXPLAIN THAT. >> YOU’RE GOADING HIM INTO — I
>> YOU’RE GOADING HIM INTO — I KNOW THIS IS JUST WHAT THE
KNOW THIS IS JUST WHAT THE PRESIDENT DOES AND I DON’T THINK
–PRESIDENT DOES AND I DON’T THINK HE’S THINKING ABOUT IT IN A
STRATEGIC FASHION
BECAUSE WHO SHOULD EXPECT A PRESIDENT TO THINK
STRATEGICALLY. >> I DON’T BELIEVE HE IS
>> I DON’T BELIEVE HE IS THINKING STRATEGICALLY.
THINKING STRATEGICALLY. BUT IS HE JUST TRYING TO GOAD
BUT IS HE JUST TRYING TO GOAD DON McGHAN INTO MAKING A PUBLIC
DON McGHAN INTO MAKING A PUBLIC STATEMENT?
STATEMENT? I MEAN, IT’S KIND OF — AND NOW
I MEAN, IT’S KIND OF — AND NOW WE’RE SEEING, AGAIN, I WONDER IF
WE’RE SEEING, AGAIN, I WONDER IF IT’S THE SAME SOURCE, BUT
IT’S THE SAME SOURCE, BUT SOURCES CLOSE TO McGAHN WE’RE
SOURCES CLOSE TO McGAHN WE’RE SEEING THESE VERY SIMILAR
SEEING THESE VERY SIMILAR STATEMENTS.
STATEMENTS. I DON’T KNOW.
I DON’T KNOW. I MEAN, I DON’T THINK THIS
I MEAN, I DON’T THINK THIS CHANGES THE CALCULUS IN THE
CHANGES THE CALCULUS IN THE SHORT-TERM ABOUT WHETHER HE
SHORT-TERM ABOUT WHETHER HE TESTIFIES OR NOT, BUT I DON’T
TESTIFIES OR NOT, BUT I DON’T SEE THE SENSE IN IT.
SEE THE SENSE IN IT. >> ASHLEY PARKER?
>> ASHLEY PARKER? >> AGAIN IT MAKES NO SENSE.
>> AGAIN IT MAKES NO SENSE. THE PRESIDENT IS GETTING
THE PRESIDENT IS GETTING DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO ALMOST
DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO ALMOST PUSHING FOR AN OUTCOME THAT HE
PUSHING FOR AN OUTCOME THAT HE DOESN’T WANT AND WOULDN’T
DOESN’T WANT AND WOULDN’T BENEFIT HIM.
BENEFIT HIM. YOU HAVE DON McGHAN WHO IS
YOU HAVE DON McGHAN WHO IS SOMEONE BASED ON THE MUELLER
SOMEONE BASED ON THE MUELLER REPORT AND EVERYTHING WE
REPORT AND EVERYTHING WE UNDERSTAND, REPEATEDLY ACTUALLY
UNDERSTAND, REPEATEDLY ACTUALLY SAVED THE PRESIDENT FROM
SAVED THE PRESIDENT FROM HIMSELF.
HIMSELF. AND THE PRESIDENT MAY NOT HAVE
AND THE PRESIDENT MAY NOT HAVE LIKED IT IN THOSE MOMENTS AND,
LIKED IT IN THOSE MOMENTS AND, IN FACT, HE DIDN’T AT THE TIME
IN FACT, HE DIDN’T AT THE TIME WE HEARD A LOT ABOUT CLASHES
WE HEARD A LOT ABOUT CLASHES WITH DON McGHAN AND HE DIDN’T
WITH DON McGHAN AND HE DIDN’T LIKE DON McGHAN BECAUSE DON
LIKE DON McGHAN BECAUSE DON McGHAN WOULD STAND UP TO HIM AND
McGHAN WOULD STAND UP TO HIM AND GIVE HIM THE LAWYER’S POINT OF
GIVE HIM THE LAWYER’S POINT OF VIEW, IT TURNS OUT IN HINDSIGHT
VIEW, IT TURNS OUT IN HINDSIGHT THE PRESIDENT IS LUCKY DON
THE PRESIDENT IS LUCKY DON McGHAN WAS THERE PLAYING THAT
McGHAN WAS THERE PLAYING THAT ROLE.
ROLE. DON McGHAN ONLY TESTIFIED FOR
DON McGHAN ONLY TESTIFIED FOR THOSE 30 HOURS YOU MENTIONED
THOSE 30 HOURS YOU MENTIONED BECAUSE HE WAS ABIDING BY — YOU
BECAUSE HE WAS ABIDING BY — YOU CAN DISAGREE WITH IF IT’S GOOD
CAN DISAGREE WITH IF IT’S GOOD OR BAD STRATEGY, HE WAS ABIDING
OR BAD STRATEGY, HE WAS ABIDING BY A STRATEGY COOKED UP BY THE
BY A STRATEGY COOKED UP BY THE PRESIDENT’S LAWYERS AT THE TIME,
PRESIDENT’S LAWYERS AT THE TIME, AND NOW HE’S RISKING POSSIBLE
AND NOW HE’S RISKING POSSIBLE CON TEMPT TO DEFY A
CON TEMPT TO DEFY A CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENA.
CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENA. HE’S NOT LIKE THESE DEMOCRATS,
HE’S NOT LIKE THESE DEMOCRATS, HE’S NOT THE PERSON YOU WANT TO
HE’S NOT THE PERSON YOU WANT TO GOAD INTO FINALLY SAYING I’VE
GOAD INTO FINALLY SAYING I’VE HAD ENOUGH.
HAD ENOUGH. THAT’S NOT A SAVVY STRATEGY.
THAT’S NOT A SAVVY STRATEGY. >>> HE’S ALSO ONE OF THESE SORT
>>> HE’S ALSO ONE OF THESE SORT OF FIGURES IN TRUMP LAND WITH
OF FIGURES IN TRUMP LAND WITH ULTIMATE CREDIBILITY.
ULTIMATE CREDIBILITY. HE’S NOT A LIBERAL’S FANTASY,
HE’S NOT A LIBERAL’S FANTASY, NOT A WHISTLE BLOWER, HE STANDS
NOT A WHISTLE BLOWER, HE STANDS BEHIND THE SUPREME COURT PICKS.
BEHIND THE SUPREME COURT PICKS. HIS LEGACY IS THIS VAST BODY OF
HIS LEGACY IS THIS VAST BODY OF JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS.
JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS. HIS CLOSE ALLY IN THE SENATE IS
HIS CLOSE ALLY IN THE SENATE IS MITCH McCONNELL.
MITCH McCONNELL. HE’S NOT GOING TO BE THIS
HE’S NOT GOING TO BE THIS SATISFYING WITNESS FOR THE LEFT
SATISFYING WITNESS FOR THE LEFT AND HE’S NOT, IT WOULD APPEAR,
AND HE’S NOT, IT WOULD APPEAR, ANYMORE FEEL BEHOLDEN PERSONALLY
ANYMORE FEEL BEHOLDEN PERSONALLY TO THE WHITE HOUSE.
TO THE WHITE HOUSE. HE IS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH TELLER,
HE IS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH TELLER, AND IF HE SIMPLY TESTIFIES TO
AND IF HE SIMPLY TESTIFIES TO WHAT IS IN THE MUELLER REPORT ON
WHAT IS IN THE MUELLER REPORT ON TELEVISION, IN FRONT OF CAMERAS,
TELEVISION, IN FRONT OF CAMERAS, IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING TO THIS
IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING TO THIS PRESIDENT.
PRESIDENT. >> IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING BUT I
>> IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING BUT I THINK ALL THE THINGS YOU JUST
THINK ALL THE THINGS YOU JUST MENTIONED ARE THE REASONS WHY
MENTIONED ARE THE REASONS WHY DON McGHAN IS NOT TESTIFYING.
DON McGHAN IS NOT TESTIFYING. THE PRESIDENT KEEPS ATTACKING
THE PRESIDENT KEEPS ATTACKING HIM BECAUSE OF THE LAST THREE OR
HIM BECAUSE OF THE LAST THREE OR SO YEARS, THE PRESIDENT HAS
SO YEARS, THE PRESIDENT HAS LEARNED ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN
LEARNED ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT HE CAN BEAT THEM
ESTABLISHMENT HE CAN BEAT THEM UP, ATTACK THEM, AND THEY’LL
UP, ATTACK THEM, AND THEY’LL CAVE EVERY TIME.
CAVE EVERY TIME. FROM EVERYTHING YOU HEAR, DON
FROM EVERYTHING YOU HEAR, DON McGHAN AND TRUMP HATE EACH
McGHAN AND TRUMP HATE EACH OTHER.
OTHER. >> ISN’T HIS INTEGRITY ON THE
>> ISN’T HIS INTEGRITY ON THE LINE, HIS REPUTATION, AND HASN’T
LINE, HIS REPUTATION, AND HASN’T HE TESTIFIED IN THE MUELLER
HE TESTIFIED IN THE MUELLER REPORT TO THE TRUTH?
REPORT TO THE TRUTH? >> THE PLACE HE CARES ABOUT HIS
>> THE PLACE HE CARES ABOUT HIS REPUTATION IS WITH MITCH
REPUTATION IS WITH MITCH McCONNELL, THE REPUBLICAN
McCONNELL, THE REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT AND NONE OF THOSE
ESTABLISHMENT AND NONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WANT TO SEE HIM BRING
PEOPLE WANT TO SEE HIM BRING DONALD TRUMP DONE.
DONALD TRUMP DONE. >> HE WOULD BE THE RARE FIGURE
>> HE WOULD BE THE RARE FIGURE BECAUSE HE HAS THOSE ALLIES WHO
BECAUSE HE HAS THOSE ALLIES WHO COULD SUSTAIN TELLING A FEW
COULD SUSTAIN TELLING A FEW MINUTES OF TRUTH OF THE GARBAGE
MINUTES OF TRUTH OF THE GARBAGE THAT WENT ON IN THE WEST WING.
THAT WENT ON IN THE WEST WING. HE ASKED TO WRITE A FOE ANY
HE ASKED TO WRITE A FOE ANY LETTER.
LETTER. >> HE MIGHT OR HE MIGHT BE AN
>> HE MIGHT OR HE MIGHT BE AN OUTCAST IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
OUTCAST IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.
FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO JUSTIN
LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO JUSTIN AMASH WHEN HE STOOD UP AND TOLD
AMASH WHEN HE STOOD UP AND TOLD THE TRUTH.
THE TRUTH. HIS DAYS AS A HERO OF THE
HIS DAYS AS A HERO OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ARE PROBABLY
REPUBLICAN PARTY ARE PROBABLY OVER.
OVER. >> I WANT TO ASK ALL OF YOU

Trump Says He Never Asked McGahn to Fire Mueller

President’s tweet directly contradicts account in special counsel report

President Trump on Thursday said in a tweet that he had never asked then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, directly contradicting a detailed account in Mr. Mueller’s report.

“As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself.”

The special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election said that Mr. Trump “called McGahn and directed him to have the Special Counsel removed.” The report, which the Justice Department released last week, relied on interviews that Mr. McGahn gave Mr. Mueller’s team in March 2018, after which Mr. Mueller concluded that “McGahn is a credible witness with no motive to lie or exaggerate given the position he held in the White House.”

Mr. Mueller also wrote the president “made clear” to his chief of staff and chief strategist at the time—Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, respectively—that he was considering firing the special counsel. Both men spoke to the special counsel’s investigators. Mr. Trump declined to answer questions about obstruction of justice and declined to sit for an interview with Mr. Mueller.

Mr. Trump has long denied reports that he sought to have Mr. McGahn fire Mr. Mueller, telling reporters in January 2018 that it was “fake news.” He subsequently asked his White House counsel to publicly deny the reports, which Mr. McGahn refused to do, according to the Mueller report. The special counsel investigated that episode, among others, in seeking to determine whether the president obstructed justice.

In the week since the 448-page report was released to the public, Mr. Trump has gone from saying it exonerates him to attacking some findings as “total bullshit.” His comments Thursday marked his first effort to contradict a key part of the report that raised the question of obstruction.

.. After reports surfaced in January 2018 of Mr. Trump’s directive to Mr. McGahn, Mr. Trump publicly denied the conversation and sought to have his White House counsel do the same. According to the Mueller report, Mr. Trump sought to have aides including his personal lawyer, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and former staff secretary Rob Porter ask Mr. McGahn to dispute the reports, at one point threatening to fire Mr. McGahn, according to Mr. Porter’s account to investigators.

In another instance recounted in the Mueller report, Mr. McGahn and the president met face-to-face in February 2018, where Mr. Trump asked him: “Did I say the word fire?” Mr. McGahn told the president that he had understood the conversation as “Call Rod. There are conflicts. Mueller has to go.” Mr. Trump then demanded to know why Mr. McGahn kept notes, saying, “I never had a lawyer who took notes.”

Advisers described the president’s response to the report in recent days as more impulsive than strategic, saying he was driven by media coverage of the report and its fallout rather than any plan to undermine the investigation. “He’s going to talk about it if it’s current and discussed and out there,” Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, said in an interview. “He’s not if it’s not.”

Meanwhile, some of the president’s advisers have opted for a more muted response to the report. Mr. Trump’s lawyers had prepared a 30-page counter-report to Mr. Mueller’s document—whittled down from 150 pages originally—that they planned to release the day the report came out. One week later, they haven’t yet released it.