The NYT’s Latest McGahnObstructAPalooza: Sometimes “Cooperation” Is Just Cover Your Ass

By far the most telling passage in this 2,225+ word story laying out Don McGahn’s “cooperation” with the Mueller inquiry is this passage:

Though he was a senior campaign aide, it is not clear whether Mr. Mueller’s investigators have questioned Mr. McGahn about whether Trump associates coordinated with Russia’s effort to influence the election.

Over two thousand words and over a dozen sources, and Maggie and Mike never get around to explaining whether Don McGahn has any exposure in or provided testimony for the investigation in chief, the conspiracy with Russia to win the election.

Instead, along the way, Maggie and Mike repeat some version of “obstruction” fourteen times –obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct — perpetuating the grossly misleading myth, once again, that Trump and his cronies are only at risk for obstruction charges. They do so even while describing a lawyer who represents three high placed witnesses in the case (along with McGahn, William Burck represents Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon) opining that the President’s legal exposure makes cooperation “insane.”

Mr. Burck has explained to others that he told White House advisers that they did not appreciate the president’s legal exposure and that it was “insane” that Mr. Trump did not fight a McGahn interview in court.

Along the way, the story engages in other kinds of spin, all of which happens to make Don McGahn look far better than he should.

White House Counsels have limited attorney-client privilege

A big part of this tale is premised on the notion that McGahn cooperated when he otherwise might not have had to, based on claims like this:

For a lawyer to share so much with investigators scrutinizing his client is unusual. Lawyers are rarely so open with investigators, not only because they are advocating on behalf of their clients but also because their conversations with clients are potentially shielded by attorney-client privilege, and in the case of presidents, executive privilege.

For a story that discusses John Dean explicitly, this claim is sheer malpractice. White House Counsels work for us, not for the President as private citizen, and as such, have limited attorney-client privilege, something that has now been litigated.

The story admits McGahn might have legal exposure, but doesn’t explain what that is

Much of the rest of the story is spun around an admittedly interesting tension, John Dowd’s decision to “cooperate” with the Mueller probe, including to make no executive privilege claims over McGahn’s testimony (which he could have done). As the story makes out, that led McGahn and the lawyer he hired because he thought he might have some criminal exposure, Burck, to worry about his criminal exposure.

Mr. McGahn and his lawyer, William A. Burck, could not understand why Mr. Trump was so willing to allow Mr. McGahn to speak freely to the special counsel and feared Mr. Trump was setting up Mr. McGahn to take the blame for any possible illegal acts of obstruction, according to people close to him. So he and Mr. Burck devised their own strategy to do as much as possible to cooperate with Mr. Mueller to demonstrate that Mr. McGahn did nothing wrong.

And in a piece claiming McGahn worried Trump would blame him for any legally sketchy behavior, this paragraph shows McGahn instead blaming Trump.

In fact, Mr. McGahn laid out how Mr. Trump tried to ensure control of the investigation, giving investigators a mix of information both potentially damaging and favorable to the president. Mr. McGahn cautioned to investigators that he never saw Mr. Trump go beyond his legal authorities, though the limits of executive power are murky.

Yet the NYT doesn’t seem to think about why McGahn and the three-witness lawyer alarmed at the President’s legal exposure might also think he, McGahn, had legal exposure.

The problems with Don McGahn’s Flynn story

One bit of legal exposure that the NYT has provided evidence for — but confused as yet more actual legal discussion — is in McGahn’s role in the Mike Flynn firing (which the NYT inexplicably always treats as obstruction of justice).

Mr. McGahn gave to Mr. Mueller’s investigators, the people said, a sense of the president’s mind-set in the days leading to the firing of Mr. Comey; how the White House handled the firing of the former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn; and how Mr. Trump repeatedly berated Mr. Sessions, tried to get him to assert control over the investigation and threatened to fire him.

As I have noted, the White House materials published by the NYT actually show that McGahn wrote an obviously misleading explanation for the Flynn firing, one that suppressed transition period emails that would undermine all the claims about Flynn deciding to lie about his discussion with Sergi Kislyak, and one which would conflict in material ways with the contemporaneous reports of Jim Comey, Sally Yates, and a number of other DOJ witnesses.

  • Don McGahn wrote a memo on the lead-up to Flynn’s firing two days after the firing, and one day after Trump’s “let it go” conversation with Jim Comey. It appears to be inconsistent with Transition materials, particularly an email showing (among other things) that Reince Priebus knew in real time what Flynn told Kislyak on December 29. Firing Comey would have been an effort to prevent FBI from discovering those transition period communications.


Yates’ public testimony (to which Mary McCord would also be a witness) adds several elements to McGahn’s: she said the sanction discussion itself was wrong (elsewhere HPSCI has claimed she raised Logan Act violations). She talked about concerns about Pence’s credibility (remember–the White House doesn’t address getting Pence’s side of this story at all). And she claims she specifically suggested the White House should take action — that is, fire Flynn.

Finally, note that this passage cites an email chain dated January 12 — what was treated as campaign production with the Bates stamp “DJTJFP.” This is the only time the letter cites that production; they don’t, for example, cite the email chains referenced in Flynn’s plea that make it clear how hard it would have been to forget the Kislyak call because he was basically acting on orders from the President.


After Yates spoke to McGahn, he had a meeting with Trump and Priebus and others.

On January 26, 2017, Mr. McGahn briefed the President concerning the information conveyed by Ms. Yates. Additional advisors were brought in, including White House Chief of Staff Mr. Priebus. It was agreed that additional information would be needed before any action was taken. As recorded by Mr. McGahn, “Part of this concern was a recognition by McGahn that it was unclear from the meeting with Yates whether an action could be taken without jeopardizing an ongoing investigation.” At that time “President Trump asked McGahn to further look into the issue as well as finding out more about the calls.”

Note how important it is that the letter ignore Yates’ public statements? She claims she suggested the White House should take action, meaning they should fire Flynn. The White House claimed (in a piece written after the “let it go” conversation) that they didn’t know whether they could fire Flynn because there might be an ongoing investigation. And Trump used that as an excuse to get more information on the investigation.

McGahn may have spent 30 hours blaming Trump for writing this obvious retrospective CYA piece (one piece of news in this piece is that McGahn has been called by for a third appearance by Mueller’s team, but the story doesn’t reveal when that was). But he wrote it. And he likely has some legal risk for having done so.

Sometimes cooperation is just a failure to obstruct

Which is one of my gripes with this story overall. In spite of describing how McGahn and his lawyer worried about the former’s legal exposure, exposure that led them to embrace the ability to appear before Mueller directly, the whole theme of this story is that McGahn “cooperated” with Mueller’s inquiry. The word, in some legal contexts, may mean “responded to legal requests in a way that limited a person’s own criminal exposure” and in others may mean “helped convict co-conspirators.”

In this story, the former connotation is used though the latter connotation is sold. Because the story doesn’t explain the difference in connotations, it makes McGahn look far more cooperative than he has necessarily been.

I mean, maybe he has been. But to make that case, you’d need to ask that basic question: is he also answering questions about the election conspiracy, questions that likely go beyond his own legal exposure?

Mueller can lay out Trump’s actions in an indictment listing him as a non-indicted witness or an Unindicted Co-Conspirator

There are two other details, regular features of Maggie and Mike’s stories on what White House lawyers tell them to say, that are pure PR.  First (because people on Twitter never understand this point), Maggie and Mike repeat something that Rudy Giuliani appears to have them chanting in their sleep, that the end product of this investigation is going to be a report to Congress.

Mr. Mueller has told the president’s lawyers that he will follow Justice Department guidance that sitting presidents cannot be indicted. Rather than charge Mr. Trump if he finds evidence of wrongdoing, he is more likely to write a report that can be sent to Congress for lawmakers to consider impeachment proceedings.

Thus far, Mueller has obtained four indictments and five guilty pleas, each laying out some potentially criminal conduct of associates. Indeed, the most recent indictment included this language, making it clear that Russian hackers responded to Trump’s request that Russia hack Hillary by … attempting to hack Hillary.

For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a thirdparty provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.

That is, we’ve already seen nods towards Trump’s involvement in a conspiracy, without any report to Congress. Laying out Trump’s criminal actions as unindicted conduct in indictments has several legal advantages over just reporting it to Congress, including it would raise the stakes on pardoning any co-conspirators and potentially force Trump to sit for an interview. Moreover, indictments are how Mueller has communicated thus far, and how Rod Rosenstein has said they intend to communicate. So perhaps the NYT should stop simply repeating Rudy’s spin on this point?

Trump has demonstrably not provided unparalleled cooperation

Finally, Maggie and Mike include these three paragraphs uncritically in their piece.

Mr. Dowd said that cooperation was the right approach but that Mr. Mueller had “snookered” Mr. Trump’s legal team. The White House has handed over more than one million documents and allowed more than two dozen administration officials to meet with Mr. Mueller in the belief that he would be forced to conclude there was no obstruction case.

“It was an extraordinary cooperation — more cooperation than in any major case — no president has ever been more cooperative than this,” Mr. Dowd said, adding that Mr. Mueller knew as far back as October, when he received many White House documents, that the president did not break the law.

As the months passed on, the misinterpretation by Mr. McGahn and Mr. Burck that the president would let Mr. McGahn be blamed for any obstruction case has become apparent. Rather than placing the blame on Mr. McGahn for possible acts of obstruction, Mr. Trump has yet to even meet with the special counsel, his lawyers resisting an invitation for an interview.

As I have laid out, it is simply not the case that Trump has “more cooperation than in any major case.” George Bush’s White House provided similar cooperation in the (less major) CIA leak case, even before you fluff the numbers by counting texts as pages of documents. But that’s assuming something that this passage makes clear you can’t assume: that Trump will ever sit for an interview. Both Dick Cheney and George Bush were willing to sit for interviews; the former even did so under oath.

Compare that to the Plame affair leak investigation, when Bush sat for an interview in June 2004, and Cheney — who himself made some grossly false statements in his tenure — sat for one in May 2004 and a little-known follow-up that August. According to Cheney’s autobiography, “[T]he second session was conducted under oath so that [his] testimony could be submitted to the grand jury.” Zeidenberg, for his part, doesn’t remember any of those interviews requiring a subpoena.

Samborn, the Fitzgerald spokesperson who was famously reticent during the whole CIA leak investigation, offered an expansive rebuttal to Dowd’s claim that this White House has offered unprecedented cooperation. “Trump’s team can claim all the cooperation it wants, and whether justifiably so or not, it seems to me that it all gets negated, if at the end, he personally refuses to be questioned when so much substance depends on what he knew and did, as well as his state of mind.”

Any refusal to sit for an interview, Samborn said, was central evaluating the level of cooperation.

At some point, the NYT might stop repeating breathless stories premised on the notion that Trump will ever sit for an interview and instead report the fact — that Trump has refused the kind of cooperation with a legal investigation his predecessors have offered.

34 replies
  1. Kai-Lee Klymchuk says:

    Marcy and others:

    *Has Mueller himself or an officially designated person specifically in this regard advised Trump’s team that he will not be indicted? This keeps on being represented in various venues as not only received wisdom, but the official message given by Mueller himself.
    It seems that one or two lower-level people, in quite hazy circumstances, related I believe by Giuliani, were the only ones to provide this “certainty”. One would think Mueller is aware of SO many illegalities that he would not simply be content to limit the powers of justice to a report to Congress?
    Might those many sealed indictments Mueller has already prepared directly target Trump?

    • SteveB says:

      What “sealed indictments he has already prepared”?

      As off beam as the claim Mueller will only do a report to Congress. LaMensch and her twitter patribots persistently push wild speculations as to sealed indictments and exotic “revelations” exclusively to them concerning convoluted procedural maneuvers : every single aspect of what they say is wrong headed including re process and procedure; they have a lot to answer for as to the public misunderstanding of the investigation.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Interesting to see what Emmet Flood will do now, and what he’s been doing.  It seems unlikely that, when faced with the public outing of overt cooperation with Mueller – of the kind that Rudy has been selling without delivering – McGahn will be WHC much longer.  The Don is not the type of despot able to tolerate so “disloyal” an act.

    Interesting, too, that this comes from Habs, which means it’s the most pro-Trump take possible on events, and that the WH anticipated the news coming out through other channels.

    • Peterr says:

      I’m wondering if McGahn is the prime mover of this story, as a way of getting the story of his “cooperation” out in public prior to being canned by Trump — possibly trying to make it harder for Trump to do just that.

      But those three paragraphs Marcy highlights at the end of her post above are pure Trump. They’re also the same kind of pure manure that high school students spout when they complain to their teacher about getting a D on an essay. “You asked for a 10-15 page paper, and I gave you a 15 page paper. Nobody in class wrote more!” Says the teacher “That may be, but you didn’t give me a single page that addressed the question I asked you.”

  3. SpaceLifeForm says:

    “The White House has handed over more than one million documents and allowed more than two dozen administration officials to meet with Mr. Mueller in the belief that he would be forced to conclude there was no obstruction case.”

    Allowed.  Belief.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I wonder whether Maggie can even say ConFraud US or financial crimes. She grew up in upper middle class Manhattan. Dad worked at the NYT and mom worked for a powerhouse PR firm. So she heard one of them at breakfast every morning.

  5. Trip says:

    Thanks, Marcy.
    My question is: why would McGahn feel the need to whisper this to NYT now? He hasn’t been covered in mass media recently. Who is this directed at, this message? Is something gonna drop that he is trying to get in front of? It’s strange. It’s not directed at Mueller, because obviously he would determine on his own how helpful or cooperative McGahn has been. I can’t imagine that McGahn could GAF what the general public thinks, unless they might become jurors later. Is this directed at Trump?

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mueller “snookered” Trump’s legal team, presumably by doing an end-run, using McGahn’s “unwitting” cooperation, which may have “unintentionally” implicated the president?

    NYT’s reporters fell for that characterization?  Or are they claiming that they are repeating what Dowd told them, and taking no position on it, just reporting it?  The first would be malpractice.  The second would be self-exculpation, given that the NYT is America’s most expensive journalistic real estate and people around the world believe what it prints.

    McGahn works in the West Wing.  He’s WHC, but that that is not being counsel for the president is a nuance a lot of people, including Trump, will never get.  He could not produce a briefcase, let alone a million documents, without approval from the Oval Office.  Normally, that means the COS, given the stakes and the notoriety here, the COS would have had to tell Trump.

    So nobody “snookered” anybody.  Nor does it seem likely that McGahn delivered up documents to Mueller not previously reviewed by Trump’s legal team.

    Like Maggie and Schmidt’s story in the NYT, McGahn’s cooperation story is only half the tale.  Mueller will still be looking for the other half.

    • Trip says:

      Everyone was playing everyone else. This is what happens in an environment of no trust, and for good reason. There is no honor among thieves.

      Thinking that sending documents would be adequate for an investigator, and believing that Trump was innocent-cause he said so, leans toward great incompetence. Or perhaps they were planning on throwing McGahn under the bus. So he ran them over first.

      • Trip says:

        Burke/McGahn put on a good show with the fake privilege while Bannon was involved in his committee testimony though.

    • Peterr says:

      “Our job is not to discern whether a ‘characterization’ is right or wrong. We’re just stenographers, taking down what is said and telling you about it.”

      I think the best take here is the one from last February in that last blockquote above:

      Samborn, the Fitzgerald spokesperson who was famously reticent during the whole CIA leak investigation, offered an expansive rebuttal to Dowd’s claim that this White House has offered unprecedented cooperation. “Trump’s team can claim all the cooperation it wants, and whether justifiably so or not, it seems to me that it all gets negated, if at the end, he personally refuses to be questioned when so much substance depends on what he knew and did, as well as his state of mind.”

      Any refusal to sit for an interview, Samborn said, was central evaluating the level of cooperation.

      Randy knows what cooperation looks like. He also knows what it looks like when folks start saying “look at this bright shiny thing!”

  7. getouttahere says:

    Why isn’t this “reporting” simply labeled as a press release? Do these reporters actually believe that they are doing anything other than giving their “sources” (ha-ha-ha) a wide audience? Wouldn’t The Times make more money if they agreed to print what McGahn, Burck, Ghoulianni, Dowd, et al say, but only as a paid advertisement? A cost of a full page ad in The Times would probably pay the salaries of these “reporters” and everyone could go home happy.

  8. arbusto says:

    I see that the NYT’s article is already referenced on McGahn’s Wikipedia page. Glad someone likes to keep it current.
    Since Trump seems to only value persons of negotiable morals, I wonder whether McGahn has firewalled hisTrump Inc attorney from WH Counsel and may hide some of the former under privilege to the latter.

    • Teddy says:

      Breathlessly awaiting its being quoted on the Sunday gabfest programmes, just like Cheney’s aluminum tubes.  Who’s having McGahn as a guest tomorrow, do you suppose?


  9. Rusharuse says:

    Just now . .
    Noooooo c’lusion, none, zero. At last we can all move on!

    “I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel. In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents. Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!”

    • Bob Conyers says:

      I think that’s a valid point — to me it points to Haberman and Schmidt trying to use all of the access points they’ve accumulated, but being too far out of their league to convert them into something comprehensible.

      The lead expert they quote is “Solomon L. Wisenberg, a deputy independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation” which immediate should set off an alarm — is this really the guy you want passing judgment here? Even if he has led a long, post-Starr career that is rigorously fair and balanced, this is a sign Haberman and Schmidt weren’t looking for an expert from the current millenium.

      It’s another worrying sign to me that nobody on the editorial side with the expertise to be in charge — and when this gets really serious, it’s going to be too late for the Times to get things right. I’m sure that won’t stop them from applying full court pressure for a Pulitzer for Haberman and Schmidt, though.

      • Trip says:

        That’s it, @Bob. I think you’re right.

        When you break it down, it seems full of not well thought out excuses. First one: Trump’s original attorneys say they thought Trump was innocent, so they talked to Mueller and gave him documents, thinking it would be over in a few months. Then the article tries to say something like they (the lawyers or Mueller) set-up the WH for a fall. But the caveat was that Trump would never once speak with Mueller (even though he was going to “100%”). Therefore, reading between the lines, they recognized that Trump wasn’t innocent. So it wasn’t going to be over in a few months. And something in those documents was likely attached to McGahn, his name on some piece of paper. (I forget whether it was in the article or as a response), but how stupid is the excuse by Dowd of being ‘snookered by Mueller’? Did Mueller somehow make Trump say he’s going to talk and then not do it?

        McGahn must not have thought Trump innocent either (in excuse 2, where they couldn’t understand the access, therefore something was afoot), and so they worried that Trump’s lawyers were throwing him under the bus. But he had to know what docs they were sending. So he went and talked to Mueller, but he says not because Trump’s necessarily guilty of anything. That is ridiculous. McGahn knew he had legal exposure so he went in. He even admits as much. And supposedly WITHOUT Trump knowing. If Trump did know, then McGahn looks like he was digging to see what the Special Counsel had on both of them via questioning. And why is McGahn able to talk to Mueller without the giant perjury trap, while Trump is not?

        No one looks good, not the original lawyers, not McGahn and certainly not Trump. They are all whinging and whining about whose fault this all is, but none of it is theirs. No one appears to have a shred of dignity or integrity. Further, the spin is not so good.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Given how much the Whitewater investigation cost, how absurd were its premises, how long it took, and how it came up with absolutely nada, Haberman and Schmidt are using him as window dressing for a line they’ve chosen to take anyway.

        They’re insulting their readers, too, in that they must think their readers know as little about history as they’re willing to talk about.

        One problem access journalism has in common with hostage taking, is that the hostage journalists soon begin to think like their captors.  See, Hostage Terrorist, Terrorist Hostage: A Study in Duality.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          Sympathizing with the captors is a mistake Fox News, never, ever makes. They never lose sight of the transactional nature of their business, and they never let the GOP forget it either.

          That’s not to say that the NY Times should be involved in that version of access journalism either. But it’s ridiculous that they sell themselves for access and get so little in return, and something they never seem to really think about, their readers get even less.

          Again, the fault in the immediate sense belongs to Haberman and Schmidt, but in the bigger picture it’s the management of the paper. They really have no idea what their goals should be.

        • Trip says:

          Another excellent point @Bob. Even if they (NYT) leave these pieces unadulterated verbatim administration spin, they have no other writers who could put all of it into context?  Deconstructing the spin, lies and implications?

          Instead, it’s Judith Miller redux. These two are the stars, and by golly, let’s not let any real reporters get in the way of headline clickbait that establishes no truths.

  10. DrDavidK says:

    Thanks, Marcy. Your site was the first place I turned to after finishing the NYT’s water-carrying article. I became a regular supporter a few months ago and I encourage other readers to do so as well, if they haven’t already.

  11. dakine01 says:

    “So perhaps the NYT should stop simply repeating Rudy’s spin…”


    Uh yeah, I’m not holding my breath on this one…

  12. Kai-Lee Klymchuk says:

    As to why this is out now, isn’t it because at last count, they have threatened to take a potential subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court in order to avoid Trump testifying to Mueller? McGahn is meant to be the ultimate insider with a “nothing to see here” message. He is the Trump proxy – as close as anyone can get to the intimate goings-on of pivotal actions and intentions related to the obstruction case, which is the first launch on Trump? (Not so with any other, and it’s been said that Trump fears the obstruction case most as he thinks he can get away with other criminality. This is why he is said to be unwilling to answer any questions about actions or motivations during his time in office.)

    Per The Times: The Times reported that McGahn has told investigators that he has not witnessed the President take any action that exceeds “his legal authorities.”

    Per Giuliani (via CNN, with very interesting weekend timing): Shortly after the Times published its report on Saturday, Giuliani called on Mueller’s team to wrap up its investigation and file a report on its findings.
    “Time for Mueller investigation to file report,” Giuliani wrote on Twitter. “We will release ours. Don’t interfere with election like Comey. The President had nothing to do with Russians. He didn’t obstruct an investigation. 1.4 million documents and 32 witnesses no privilege raised.”
    Asked his view about the level of McGahn’s cooperation with Mueller’s team, CNN legal analyst Ross Garber told CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield on Saturday, “It really is extraordinary.”
    “To give up those privileges so early, I was frankly surprised, and it appears it may come back to hurt the President and perhaps the presidency,” Garber added.
    Garber said later, “Let’s be clear: he (McGahn) is a witness. He went in and sat with prosecutors and the agents, and he provided information. The White House counsel is a witness. And probably a very important one.”
    The narrative is that there might be a “there there” with McGahn, the posterior-protecting beleaguered Counsel, because no executive privilege was asserted, and theoretically, McGahn was and is free to reveal all. But a closer reading, informed by some understanding of the psychologies of the individuals in question, would suggest that THIS is the big nothingburger.

    So, the game now would seem to be, “You have everything you need, and everything you’re gonna get. And that’s everything. Except an interview with the President. Your move!”

    Next week’s gambit might involve Ivanka coming forward as a character witness for her father… Tick tock, tick tock.

  13. pdaly says:

    Great take down (again) of the NYT’s Maggie and Mike show, emptywheel.

    Time for NYT readers (and Maggie and Mike) to recall a “West Wing” tv episode when fictional President Bartlet approaches (along with Leo, the President’s Chief of Staff) White House Chief Counsel Oliver Babish to learn whether there is criminal liability on Bartlet’s part for keeping his medical condition (multiple sclerosis) hidden from the U.S. voters in order to win the election.

    I was only a casual watcher of West Wing and still remember Oliver Babish telling the President that he (Babish) would not, if subpoenaed, be able to claim attorney-client privilege between himself and the President.

    Season 2, episode 19 was titled “Bad Moon Rising,” and it aired on April 25, 2001. It even uses the words CONSPIRACY and DEFRAUD.
    Excerpt of Bartlet/Babish conversation:

    Well, Oliver, it really boils down to this. I’m going to tell you a story, and then I need you to tell me whether or not I’ve engaged 16 people in a massive criminal conspiracy to defraud the public in order to win a presidential election.  
    Let me put it another way. Is it possible you could be sitting in this room, have an [MS] attack, and I don’t know it?  
    I think what you’re asking is, ‘Is it possible I could be sitting in the Situation Room, have an attack, and nobody knows it?’
    Yes. My vision might get blurry. You wouldn’t know that. My legs might get numb…  
    Okay sir, uh… before we go any further, there’s something that I want to make sure is absolutely clear.  
    What’s that?  
    You and I don’t enjoy attorney-client privilege.  
    BARTLET (to Leo) 
    What’s he talking about?  
    He’s a government lawyer. The privilege doesn’t exist.  
    So you want to be very careful about what you say in this room right now, Mr. President, because if subpoenaed to give a deposition, I’m not going to lie under oath.  
    I don’t want to be careful about what I say in this room.  
    Well, then we should end this meeting, and you should retain private counsel.

  14. Mitch Neher says:

    Given that McGahn served as a Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission from 2008 through 2013, is it safe to assume that the Trump campaign did not seek the advise of its own campaign counsel, Don McGahn, on the legality of taking the Trump Tower meeting, based on the further assumption that McGahn would have advised them not to take the Trump Tower meeting?

    If those assumptions are wrong, then McGahn’s legal jeopardy would be much worse than the NYT article would have us imagine. If those assumptions are correct, then why didn’t McGahn resign as White House Counsel as soon as the Trump Tower meeting was reported by [or leaked to] the NYT? Whose idea was it for Jared Kushner to revise his security clearance form to admit his contact with Veselnitskaya?

    • Fran of the North says:

      I eagerly await the day that Javanka’s security clearance is pulled. Schadenfreude is a dish best served cold.

      I’ll toast with Stoly. Anyone want to join me?

  15. nolanski says:

    The Mike and Maggie “reporting” is a total joke. Well called out here, wish there was more common sense elsewhere.

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