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Trump blasts New York Times for story on White House lawyer Don McGahn

Sunday - 19/08/2018 15:40
Sunday morning tweets said McGahn isn't 'a John Dean type rat,' referencing Watergate-era White House attorney
U.S. President Donald Trump, seen at a cabinet meeting Thursday in Washington, blasted the New York Times Sunday in a series of tweets, criticizing a story suggesting White House attorney Don McGahn had been co-operating extensively with the investigation
U.S. President Donald Trump, seen at a cabinet meeting Thursday in Washington, blasted the New York Times Sunday in a series of tweets, criticizing a story suggesting White House attorney Don McGahn had been co-operating extensively with the investigation

U.S. President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that White House lawyer Don McGahn isn't "a John Dean type 'RAT,"' making reference to the Watergate-era White House attorney who turned on Richard Nixon.

Trump, in a series of angry tweets, blasted a New York Times story reporting that McGahn has been co-operating extensively with the special counsel team investigating Russian election meddling and potential collusion with Trump's Republican campaign.

"The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type 'RAT,"' Trump wrote, misspelling the word "counsel," as he often does. "But I allowed him and all others to testify — I didn't have to. I have nothing to hide…"

The New York Times said in a tweet that it stands by the story.

Trump's original legal team had encouraged McGahn and other White House officials to co-operate with special counsel Robert Mueller, and McGahn spent hours in interviews.

Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said in an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press that Trump didn't raise executive privilege or attorney-client privilege during those interviews because his team believed — he says now, wrongly — that fully participating would be the fastest way to bring the investigation to a close.

"The president encouraged him to testify, is happy that he did, is quite secure that there is nothing in the testimony that will hurt the president," Giuliani said.

McGahn's attorney William Burck added in a statement: "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 said that McGahn, seen speaking in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 22, isn't 'a John Dean type rat,' making reference to the Watergate-era White House attorney who turned on Richard Nixon. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)
Trump said that McGahn, seen speaking in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 22, isn't 'a John Dean type rat,' making reference to the Watergate-era White House attorney who turned on Richard Nixon. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

The Watergate reference

Dean was White House counsel for Nixon, a Republican, during the Watergate scandal. He ultimately co-operated with prosecutors and helped bring down the Nixon presidency, though he served a prison term for obstruction of justice.

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