Trump asked the White House counsel to help convince Comey to publicly exonerate him

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump reportedly told White House counsel Don McGahn to call the Justice Department and ask a senior official to persuade then-FBI director James Comey to publicly exonerate Trump in the Russia probe.
The revelation adds another piece of evidence to the obstruction-of-justice case special counsel Robert Mueller is building against the president.
McGahn is also emerging as an increasingly critical witness in Mueller’s investigation.

President Donald Trump asked the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, to call the Department of Justice last year and ask a senior official to persuade then-FBI director James Comey to publicly clear the president of wrongdoing in the Russia probe, The Washington Post reported.

McGahn subsequently called then-Deputy Acting Attorney General Dana Boente last April and asked him to convince Comey to exonerate Trump, but the request fell on deaf ears, according to The Post. Boente is now the FBI general counsel.

In addition to asking McGahn to contact the Justice Department about convincing Comey to exonerate him, Trump also personally appealed to Comey to do the same, and to let go of the bureau’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, on multiple occasions in early 2017.

Though Comey privately told Trump he was not under investigation, Comey did not do so publicly in case he had to amend or retract his statement down the road. After he declined to publicly exonerate the president or drop the Flynn investigation, Comey was fired.

The revelation of Trump’s request to McGahn comes as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference gets ever closer to ensnaring the White House. In particular, Mueller is examining whether Trump sought to obstruct justice when he fired Comey last May, and Wednesday’s report will likely contribute another piece of evidence to the special counsel’s case against the president.

The White House initially said Comey was fired because of the way he handled the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business. Trump later said on national television, however, that “this Russia thing” was a factor in his decision. He also reportedly told two senior Russian government officials that firing “nut job” Comey had taken “great pressure” off of him.

Trump invited additional scrutiny in December, when he tweeted that he had to fire Flynn last February because Flynn had “lied to the FBI” — a federal crime that Flynn pleaded guilty to one day before Trump sent out the tweet. Experts said at the time that if Trump knew Flynn had lied to investigators when he asked Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation into Flynn the day after the national security adviser was fired, it would significantly bolster the obstruction case against him.

McGahn in the middle

McGahn is also emerging as an increasingly critical witness in the obstruction case.

In addition to serving as …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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