Former White House counsel Don McGahn's testimony made it clear that Trump committed criminal acts-- as a matter of course-- while occupying the White House. Trump's White House was surely more a stinking cesspool than just a fetid swamp. Now, is it fair to ask if the Biden administration has the guts and the grit to open a criminal investigation? To indict him? To try him? To imprison him? To make it clear to future presidents that if you act like a criminal in office, you will face real accountability? Not even close-- another reason so many voters detest Democrats. After all, no one likes cowards.
The Law&Crime blog got down into the nitty-gritty> of McGahn's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last week. Releasing the transcript, Jerry Nadler, the committee chair noted that "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. 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."
In the transcript, McGahn explains his reluctance to convey a message from Trump pressuring then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to not allow the special counsel to serve because of alleged conflicts-- a request that McGahn considered an “inflection point.”
“‘Inflection point,’ with that I meant a point of no return,” McGahn testified. “If the Acting Attorney General received what he thought was a direction from the counsel to the President to remove a special counsel, he would either have to remove the special counsel or resign. We are still talking about the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ decades and decades later.”
...Spanning 241-pages, the colorful transcript records McGahn’s response to Trump’s insults and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s assertions about his contacts with Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak.
Asked by the House Judiciary Counsel’s Sarah Istel about Trump calling him a “lying bastard,” McGahn described the jibe as “disappointing.”
“Why?” Istel asked.
“Well, because it’s not true. And,” McGahn replied.
“Why isn’t it true?” the counsel prodded.
“Because I’m not a lying bastard,” McGahn clarified. Recall: Trump claimed during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in 2019 that McGahn lied under oath when testifying that Trump suggested firing Mueller as special counsel. Why? Because, according to Trump, McGahn wanted to “make himself look like a good lawyer.”
Asked on June 4 whether former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus’s remarks that Trump asked McGahn to “do crazy shit” was a fair characterization, McGahn first responded that Trump would probably have found it unfair.
Prodded about his own opinion, McGahn said: “I think it’s fair.”
As for Flynn and Kislyak, McGahn did not appear impressed with the retired general’s claims that he had forgotten the details of his lengthy discussion with the Russian diplomat about sanctions. McGahn agreed he thought Flynn was lying.
“I don’t think he could have forgotten,” McGahn told the committee. “It just didn’t ring true.”
Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about the Kislyak discussions in late 2017, well before being pardoned by Trump in the twilight of his presidency.
Trump needs to face justice, not for his hideous and divisive politics or for his myriad failures as a national leader but for his over-arching criminality. If he doesn't, future generations of Americans will pay the price and it will be a dark mark against Biden's legacy.