SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Giuliani: Truth isn't truth

In a "Meet the Press" interview on NBC, President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani discusses the President potentially being called to testify in the Mueller probe.

Posted: Aug 20, 2018 7:21 PM
Updated: Aug 20, 2018 7:37 PM

White House counsel Don McGahn's 30 hours of conversations with special counsel Robert Mueller's team have unnerved President Donald Trump, who didn't know the full extent of McGahn's discussions, two people familiar with his thinking said.

The meetings only add complications to the already-fraught relationship between the President and the White House's top lawyer. And as nervous aides await a verdict in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial and watch with trepidation the inauspicious public relations blitz carried by lead attorney Rudy Giuliani, uncertainty surrounding the President's handling of the Russia investigation abounds.

Trump was spending another weekend at his New Jersey golf club when The New York Times first reported McGahn's cooperation with Mueller's office, which is investigating Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.

The President was unsettled by the notion that he didn't know everything McGahn said to the special counsel during their interviews, the sources said. And while he had approved the cooperation, Trump did not know the conversations stretched for 30 hours or that his legal team didn't conduct a full debriefing with McGahn after the fact.

Trump remained agitated for the rest of the weekend, the people said, believing the revelation made him look weak. Between conversations with his lawyers and a round of golf with Sen. Rand Paul, Trump lashed out on Twitter, decrying the suggestion he was caught off guard.

"I allowed him and all others to testify - I didn't have to. I have nothing to hide and have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close," Trump wrote.

As his aides worked to react to the story, Trump insisted on portraying his relationship with McGahn -- one of his longest-serving aides with whom he's nonetheless clashed -- as ironclad.

"The President and Don have a great relationship," press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Saturday. "He appreciates all the hard work he's done, particularly his help and expertise with judges."

A White House official said Trump himself dictated the statement -- not an uncommon practice for the media-focused President, yet still an indication of his focus on the matter.

McGahn was on Capitol Hill Monday escorting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to meetings when he was peppered with questions from reporters about his conversations with Mueller's team. The lawyer, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue tie, maintained a stony exterior and didn't answer, proceeding along with the nominee who could come to shape Trump's judicial legacy. It's the issue upon which McGahn has focused most intently in his tenure.

A tortured partnership brings some of Trump's biggest victories

His declaration of a "great relationship" aside, Trump and McGahn have carried out a tortured partnership for more than a year, people familiar with the dynamic say.

According to officials, Trump has at times seemed unclear on McGahn's role -- which is not as his personal lawyer, but as a lawyer for the White House and the presidency.

McGahn enjoys rare status in the West Wing as an official who has openly defied the President— in one case last year, he refused to order the Justice Department to fire Mueller, despite Trump's command.

But it has come at a cost. Trump and McGahn -- once close partners who forged a bond when McGahn joined Trump's campaign in its early stages -- now rarely meet one-on-one, a source familiar with their relationship said. Instead, Trump and McGahn now often only meet as part of a broader meeting, often times one involving White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Inside the West Wing, speculation about McGahn's eventual departure from the staff was boiling for months before being cooled by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, which presented McGahn a second opportunity to help shape the Supreme Court.

It's in that realm that McGahn and the President have found themselves most aligned and successful. Trump has proudly trumpeted the conservative reshaping of the federal judiciary that McGahn has masterminded and executed from his wood-paneled office on the second floor of the West Wing.

Trump often raises the judicial effort during dinners and phone calls with his close advisers and friends, people familiar with the conversations say. At the same time, Trump has openly complained that he does not fully trust McGahn, and has wondered aloud if he was among those leaking damaging information about the White House.

For McGahn, too, the judicial effort has provided a reason to remain in the West Wing, even as his relationship with Trump deteriorated and the Russia probe drew closer to the President. Sources close to the White House said McGahn is likely to leave his White House post after Kavanaugh is confirmed.

What's McGahn's future?

Trump and McGahn went weeks without speaking at the beginning of this year, and months without meeting one-on-one, people familiar with the matter said. During this period, along with telling people McGahn was "a leaker," Trump complained about McGahn's good relationship with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel investigation.

This summer, Trump has stopped raising McGahn's relationship with Rosenstein as frequently, a person familiar with the matter said. The two men resumed one-on-one meetings around the latest Supreme Court nomination efforts, though one person familiar with the dynamic between them compared the duo to "old married couple complaining about each other."

McGahn -- who, as White House counsel, makes a fraction of the money he was making as a lawyer at Jones Day -- has long viewed his role as laying the groundwork for Trump's legacy-making moves. He's also had a hand in the administration's deregulation efforts, which are sweeping.

But, as White House counsel, he has not played a major role in directing the President's legal maneuvering when it comes to the Russia investigation. He was skeptical of the initial strategy, laid out by Trump's ex-lawyers Ty Cobb and John Dowd, of cooperating fully with Mueller's team. McGahn was a main internal advocate of bringing aboard Emmet Flood, who now directs the Russia legal strategy from inside the White House. Flood is viewed as a potential replacement for McGahn should he depart as White House counsel.

With details of McGahn's participation with the special counsel made public, experts say it's only a matter of time before other Trump aides seek out Mueller for interviews.

"Nobody wants to be the last one standing," said Jack Quinn, who served as White House counsel under President Bill Clinton and is now a CNN legal analyst. "Nobody wants to watch one's colleagues go in, spill the beans and be the one who is last in line to cooperate. I think there is a good chance you will see a lot of people making phone calls to the special counsel's office asking when their interview can take place."

West Lafayette
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 43°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 39°
Rensselaer
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 39°
Fowler
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
Williamsport
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 41°
Crawfordsville
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 39°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 38°
Delphi
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 39°
Monticello
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 38°
Logansport
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
A drier day with sunshine and cool temperatures
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1011197

Reported Deaths: 16524
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1359292129
Lake666181167
Allen58254802
Hamilton46498467
St. Joseph44559617
Elkhart36044510
Vanderburgh32333481
Tippecanoe28037260
Johnson25196446
Hendricks23960360
Porter22985367
Madison18820410
Clark18609253
Vigo17530303
Monroe15319200
LaPorte15230252
Delaware15127264
Howard14801290
Kosciusko12410149
Hancock11773176
Bartholomew11695180
Warrick11305189
Floyd11138215
Wayne11023253
Grant10131220
Morgan9506177
Boone8965116
Dubois8281131
Henry8252153
Dearborn823493
Noble8064106
Marshall7981135
Cass7556123
Lawrence7479172
Shelby7216119
Jackson700990
Gibson6614115
Harrison651892
Huntington6447100
Knox6427106
DeKalb6363100
Montgomery6293112
Miami595298
Putnam584179
Clinton579271
Whitley568455
Steuben566876
Wabash5363104
Jasper536180
Jefferson513297
Ripley501987
Adams483777
Daviess4684115
Scott439875
Greene427296
Clay426960
Wells426088
White420964
Decatur4177104
Fayette407387
Jennings390262
Posey377544
LaGrange361778
Washington360451
Randolph3476100
Spencer340743
Fountain336160
Sullivan330852
Starke319171
Owen315571
Fulton313468
Orange295064
Jay285546
Franklin266443
Perry265752
Rush263832
Carroll262434
Vermillion259854
Parke232029
Pike229643
Tipton229059
Blackford195042
Pulaski184657
Crawford160125
Newton159848
Benton151217
Brown147047
Martin139319
Switzerland135311
Warren121416
Union107216
Ohio84613
Unassigned0544

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events