House Judiciary Committee Releases Transcript of Interview with Former White House Counsel Don McGahn
Washington, June 9, 2021
Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released a transcript of the Committee’s June 4 interview with Donald F. McGahn, former White House Counsel.
Chairman Nadler issued the following statement on the release of the transcript:
“Mr. McGahn provided the Committee with substantial new information—including firsthand accounts of President Trump’s increasingly out of control behavior, and insight into concerns that the former President’s conduct could expose both Trump and McGahn to criminal liability. Mr. McGahn also confirmed that President Trump lied when he denied the accuracy of the Mueller report, and admitted that he was the source for a Washington Post report that confirmed Trump’s direction to McGahn to remove the Special Counsel.
“All told, Mr. McGahn’s testimony gives us a fresh look at how dangerously close President Trump brought us to, in Mr. McGahn’s words, the ‘point of no return.’”
The full transcript is available here. Key quotes from Mr. McGahn’s testimony can be found below.
McGahn described President Trump’s conduct over the course of the Mueller investigation as increasingly erratic. The President’s directions to McGahn were “crazy shit” that threatened to “spiral out of control” and to a “point of no return.”
Q. So, even if you don’t recall saying those specific words, is that a fair characterization of how you viewed the President’s request?
A. Well, the President probably thinks this is an unfair characterization, but I …
Q. I'm asking for your opinion.
A. … I think it’s fair. (103)
Q. So there could potentially have been legal implications for removing the Attorney General.
A. Sure. Just because the initial act is legal doesn't mean it couldn’t cause other issues that raise legal problems. Happens all the time. (234)
McGahn repeatedly warned President Trump that “knocking out Mueller” might constitute obstruction of justice and both McGahn and the President worried about their own liability if they played any part in the obstruction.
A. Certainly, yeah. (158)
A. My own concern? Sure, yeah. (93-94)
President Trump directed McGahn to write a false statement—knowing that the statement was false, and knowing that carrying out this order might expose McGahn to criminal liability, including prosecution by the Special Counsel.
A. That statement would not have been accurate. (152)
A. Suppose so, yeah. (164)
Although President Trump has since called McGahn a “lying bastard,” McGahn stands by his testimony to the Special Counsel.
A. Not that I recall, no. I think I learned  I learned about that one once the Mueller report was released.
Q. And was your reaction when you learned that?
A. Well, because it’s not true. (126)
President Trump clearly lied when he told the press that he “never suggested firing Mueller.”
McGahn acknowledged that he was the source for a Washington Post report that President Trump had ordered him to remove the Special Counsel.“I did talk to The Washington Post. I was a source for that second story over whether or not . . . because the press shop did not seem to be knowing how to get out that I never told the President directly I was going to resign….” (124)