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McGahn refused White House request to say Trump did not obstruct justice

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The White House asked former White House counsel Don McGahn to publicly state President Trump did not obstruct justice, CBS News has confirmed. Notably, the Mueller report included comments that Trump made disparaging McGahn as disloyal and someone who likely leaked information to the press to make himself look good.

House Democrats want McGahn to testify before Congress, but Mr. Trump has indicated that the White House would try to block the former counsel's appearance, saying McGahn has testified for enough time before the special counsel.

As Trump's attorneys prepared for the public release of Mueller's report last month, the White House sought for McGahn to issue a statement making public what he told Mueller's team, according to people familiar with the discussions. "It was a request, professionally and cordially made".

In a statement Friday night, Burck declined to elaborate on his discussions with Flood but said the request from the White House was not improper. After that episode was revealed, the president asked Mr. McGahn to create a White House document falsely rebutting his account.

"The White House knows Trump hasn't been 'totally exonerated, '" progressive advocacy group Stand Up America wrote in a series of tweets in response to the Times report.

Flood's request to McGahn was not the first overture by the administration in pursuit of such a statement, according to The New York Times. Burck also concluded that there was no reason for McGahn as a witness to weigh in. The White House complained to Barr that Mueller should have made a decision on whether Trump obstructed justice.

The news comes just as the House Judiciary Committee hopes to bring McGahn in for testimony following news that the White House instructed him to ignore their record requests.

In February 2018, Trump pressured McGahn to deny a news report that the president had pressured him to help oust Mueller.

The source added that McGahn and his lawyer didn't think that such a public statement was necessary because Attorney General Bill Barr had already come out and said Trump didn't obstruct justice.

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