White House lawyer Donald McGahn 'cooperating extensively' with Robert Mueller

US President Donald Trump has stepped up his attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election likening it to

In at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months, Mr. McGahn described the president's furor toward the Russian Federation investigation and the ways in which he urged Mr. McGahn to respond to it.

Trump appeared to object to the Times' reporting that he may not know the true extent of McGahn's cooperation, and to the Times' reporting that McGahn "told people he was determined to avoid the fate of the White House counsel for President Richard M. Nixon, John W. Dean, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice in the Watergate scandal".

Mueller is investigating whether the president sought to obstruct justice as well as whether his campaign colluded with Russia's covert effort to sway the 2016 presidential election in Trump's favor.

"I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel", Trump tweeted.

The Times reported that McGahn's cooperation in the investigation began in part because the president's initial team of lawyers insisted that Trump had nothing to hide and they wanted the investigation to end quickly. "Most transparent in history", Trump wrote.

Trump also said "some members of the media" were angry about the Times' report and have called to "complain and apologize".

Giuliani said he did not believe McGahn was cooperating against the president, noting Trump's lawyers and McGahn's have a joint defense agreement that would have otherwise ended.

Trump compared Mueller's investigation to the tactics employed by the late senator Joseph McCarthy, who alleged that Communist agents and Soviet spies had infiltrated the USA government, accusing some of treason without evidence.

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The information McGahn provided included the president's attempts to fire the special counsel, and Trump's comments and actions during his firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, according to the Times.

Specific incidents mentioned in these conversations included moments surrounding Trump's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, and his reported preference that Attorney General Jeff Sessions oversee the investigation, according to the Times.

McGahn, as White House counsel, does not serve as the president's personal lawyer.

According to The New York Times, McGahn became increasingly concerned about Trump's encouragement of his interviews with the special counsel, and feared Trump was setting him up to take the fall for possible illegal acts.

"Don McGahn is doing exactly the right thing, not merely to protect himself, but to protect his client".

"The president and Don have a great relationship", White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement to the Times.

"That didn't work", Dershowitz said.

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