It’s been fairly clear for months, and crystal clear for weeks, that White House Counsel Don McGahn has – formally or informally – flipped on Donald Trump. Everyone seems to know it but Trump, which is why McGahn still has his White House job. Now, in a week which is seeing Mueller putting several of his cards on the table in rapid fashion, he’s decided to make sure Trump knows that McGahn has flipped on him.
We’re now learning that Trump ordered McGahn to find a way to fire Mueller all the way back in June of last year, thanks to a New York Times report tonight (link). McGahn refused, and threatened to resign, and Trump ended up dropping the entire thing. What’s notable here is that this news is surfacing right now, seven months after it occurred. The only possible source for this story is McGahn himself, and he wouldn’t be putting it out right now unless Mueller wanted it out there.
How do we know that Mueller and McGahn are coordinating things? Months ago, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus gave his personal notes about Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice to Robert Mueller. In other words, Priebus is a cooperating witness. Priebus and McGahn are represented by the same attorney in the Russia scandal, which means they have to be relying on the same legal strategy with no conflicts of interest. This means that McGahn flipped months ago as well. The question is why Mueller suddenly wants to make sure Trump knows about it.
This comes in the midst of a week in which Robert Mueller has also let leak that he’s already interviewed everyone from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to CIA Director Mike Pompeo as part of his obstruction of justice case against Donald Trump. Even as Mueller closes in on Trump and demands an imminent interview, Mueller wants to make sure that Trump knows he’s been nailed, and Mueller wants to make sure that the public knows Trump has been nailed. Why? You’d have to ask him. But now Mueller is taking it so far that he even wants Trump to know that the current White House Counsel has flipped on him.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report