President Donald Trump has dismissed the word of former White House lawyer Don McGahn, a key witness in the special counsel’s investigation into interference in the 2016 election, saying, “I don’t care what he says, it doesn’t matter.”
In a portion of an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, released Friday, the president pushed back when asked whether he had wanted special counsel Robert Mueller fired, as McGahn testified under oath.
“The story on that very simply, number one, I was never going to fire Mueller. I never suggested firing Mueller,” Trump said.
McGahn was an important and oft-cited witness in the section of Mueller’s report addressing whether Trump obstructed justice. McGahn said Trump told him to fire Mueller as special counsel.
Stephanopoulos asked Trump why McGahn would lie under oath.
“Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer. 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,” the president said.
Trump seemed to become more frustrated as the interview proceeded. When Stephanopoulos asked why he wouldn’t answer written questions about possible obstruction of justice, Trump responded by insulting Stephanopoulos and saying that Mueller was unfair.
“George, you’re being a little wise guy, OK — which is, you know, typical for you,” Trump said. “Just so you understand. Very simple. It’s very simple. There was no crime. There was no collusion.”
The Trump administration is currently trying to keep its people away from congressional committees seeking their testimony, and has blocked McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. House Democrats this week voted to allow Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to get a court order forcing McGahn and Attorney General William Barr to turn over documents.