Speed Reads

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Trump reportedly asked Don McGahn to publicly announce he did not obstruct justice. McGahn refused.

Former White House counsel Don McGahn refused to comply with President Trump's request that he issue a public statement last month saying that he did not believe Trump obstructed justice during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference, sources familiar with the situation said.

The sources said that McGahn previously told Mueller's investigation team that he did not believe Trump had obstructed justice, and the White House felt that repeating that claim to the public would lend credence to the narrative that the Mueller investigation vindicated the president. Trump was reportedly upset by McGahn's refusal to say that publicly. But McGahn's side downplayed any drama — he and his lawyers reportedly did not feel that the White House's request was uncalled for.

"We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister," McGahn's lawyer William Burck said. "It was a request, professionally and cordially made."

They reportedly felt it was unnecessary because Attorney General William Barr had already publicly said Trump did not obstruct justice.