President Donald Trump blamed Don McGahn for the Mueller investigation in his last face-to-face Oval Office meeting with the outgoing White House Counsel, according to a CNN report.
McGahn appointed Robert Mueller head of the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters during his tenure as White House counsel. Trump’s frustration about the former FBI director is an example of the president’s shifting blame for the Russia investigation, a source close to McGahn said.
During the Oval Office meeting, Trump also praised McGahn for other matters despite their strained relationship. The former White Counsel had decided to leave before the incoming White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s background investigation was complete, a source close to McGahn said.
“Typically you would have the incumbent stay until the successor was ready to take his place. But in this case, McGahn was tired of the President and the President was tired of McGahn,” the source said. The departure was “positive,” but both men recognized it was time for McGahn to leave. “He didn’t want to stay on and the President didn’t want him to stay,” the source said.
Months ago, Trump surprised McGahn by first announcing his departure on Twitter and then announcing who his replacement would be during an interview with the Associated Press.
At one point, Trump ordered McGahn to fire Mueller, a request the White House counsel refused to carry out. Instead, McGahn has cooperated extensively with the Mueller investigation and spent 30 hours in several interviews in December 2017. McGahn has also been a key player in Trump’s efforts to fill the federal courts with conservative judges, including the appointments of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Robin Cramer is a News Writer at Hill Reporter. With a degree in journalism and hankering for all things political, she strives to provide balanced coverage of breaking news. You can reach her at Robin@HillReporter.com.