STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump blames McGahn for Mueller probe

Before departing as White House counsel, Don McGahn was blamed by President Trump for special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. CNN's Kara Scannell has more.

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 9:35 AM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 9:50 AM

Former White House Counsel Don McGahn ended his tumultuous tenure at the White House with one last encounter in which President Donald Trump blamed him for Robert Mueller's appointment, sources close to McGahn tell CNN.

In a face-to-face meeting Oval Office meeting, the President groused to McGahn about Mueller's appointment made on McGahn's watch as White House counsel, and the cloud the investigation has continued to cast over the presidency, the people familiar with the conversation said.

Sources say while the President was fixated on Mueller, he also gave McGahn high marks for other matters during his time as the top White House lawyer, as CNN previously reported. One source said the President's continued frustration about Mueller is another example of him shifting blame for the ongoing Russia investigation.

McGahn had decided it was time to go and he left before the background investigation was complete for the incoming White House counsel Pat Cipollone, one source familiar 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 added while the departure was "positive," both men recognized it was time for McGahn to go. "He didn't want to stay on and the President didn't want him to stay."

The President had surprised McGahn months ago in announcing McGahn's planned departure on Twitter and surprised him again in announcing his successor in an Associated Press interview, so the final meeting fit with the deteriorated state of their relationship.

McGahn has cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, participating in several interviews spanning 30 hours. The conversations unnerved Trump, who didn't know the full extent of McGahn's discussions, two people familiar with his thinking told CNN in August.

He has also been the key architect of Trump's efforts to stack the federal courts with conservative judges and successfully steered Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Trump has repeatedly cited the successes of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh as part of his appeal to Republicans, and they will be a lasting legacy of the President.

Previous arguments with McGahn

This wasn't the first time McGahn found himself in Trump's crosshairs. The two butted heads at the start of the administration as Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced pressure to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Trump enlisted McGahn to urge Sessions not to take that step — which he eventually did anyway. Trump remains furious at his attorney general for the recusal.

Later, Trump ordered McGahn to fire Mueller, an entreaty the White House counsel refused to carry out. Instead, McGahn threatened to resign.

The slew of incidents involving the President and McGahn amid the Russia investigation made the White House counsel an important witness in Mueller's investigation, with McGahn sitting for interviews with Mueller's team in December.

Huntsville/Redstone
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 35°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 39°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 33°
Decatur
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 35°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 31°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 494421

Reported Deaths: 9991
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson711451374
Mobile36184735
Madison32457458
Tuscaloosa24213412
Montgomery22636517
Shelby22020214
Baldwin19790284
Lee14980154
Morgan13693251
Calhoun13307287
Etowah13192320
Marshall11269209
Houston10102261
Elmore9408185
Limestone9376134
Cullman8903181
St. Clair8839224
Lauderdale8601212
DeKalb8465175
Talladega7552164
Walker6538258
Jackson6503103
Autauga630391
Blount6106127
Colbert5993119
Coffee5254102
Dale4648107
Russell405233
Franklin399478
Covington3970106
Chilton3883100
Escambia378172
Tallapoosa3596143
Clarke343753
Chambers3421111
Dallas3412141
Pike293372
Lawrence283684
Marion283495
Winston247368
Bibb245460
Geneva240270
Marengo236557
Pickens224555
Barbour212451
Hale210668
Fayette200957
Butler197566
Henry182641
Cherokee177139
Monroe166339
Randolph163840
Washington156635
Crenshaw145254
Clay145054
Macon142343
Cleburne137841
Lamar133133
Lowndes131251
Wilcox122525
Bullock117136
Conecuh106724
Perry105827
Sumter98632
Coosa89224
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 776337

Reported Deaths: 11436
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby873161492
Davidson81556869
Knox46018581
Hamilton40396462
Rutherford38385382
Williamson25282203
Sumner21383315
Montgomery17414213
Out of TN1695094
Wilson16423210
Unassigned15587125
Sullivan14346274
Blount14066181
Bradley12918139
Washington12774234
Maury12220163
Sevier12038163
Putnam10603169
Madison10102228
Robertson8962121
Hamblen8023164
Anderson7991157
Greene7294145
Tipton6948103
Coffee6320115
Dickson6228106
Gibson6188141
Cumberland6106121
Carter5974152
McMinn593191
Roane590796
Bedford5797120
Loudon569665
Jefferson5659119
Lawrence556883
Monroe533190
Warren531475
Hawkins525194
Dyer5237101
Franklin473685
Fayette466971
Obion436595
Rhea415173
Lincoln414062
Cocke399093
Cheatham391244
Marshall391156
Campbell380459
Weakley378959
Giles373896
Henderson361973
Carroll348981
Hardeman338564
White338266
Macon336573
Hardin331063
Lauderdale309242
Henry300975
Marion294144
Scott287644
Wayne287130
Overton284857
Claiborne279768
McNairy267853
DeKalb265549
Hickman265141
Haywood264860
Smith256036
Grainger243146
Trousdale239022
Morgan229738
Fentress229344
Johnson216338
Chester201748
Bledsoe200210
Crockett197247
Unicoi180547
Polk176522
Cannon175029
Union172233
Grundy168630
Lake167826
Sequatchie156027
Decatur153937
Humphreys153721
Benton151039
Lewis147025
Meigs126621
Jackson125234
Stewart123624
Clay107130
Perry103327
Houston102932
Moore94416
Van Buren79520
Pickett74623
Hancock49512

Community Events